Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 721
A Look Back at 2012
24 December 2012

As always, an action-packed year. Dinners every Sunday evening with superb chefs. Thank you Mary Bartlett, Antonia Hoogewerf, Cathy Monnet, Galina Prokhorova , Evgenija Demnievska, Kristi McIntosh, Jodi Poretto, Evan Fischer, Sophie Zalokar, Frederico Kulrmeier, Christian Manthei, Francesco Bignardi, Phyllis Roome and Séamas McSwiney -the-rice-maker. Guests as always from all corners of the world. Kristi flew to L.A. (thanks to Maureen Dumbaugh) and got her French visa. It runs to next October.

Kristi supervised the installation of a new bathroom and kitchen. (Paid for by the money I earned from making the After Eight commercial way back in 2009.)

An exhibition of drawings and photographs of my extraordinary neighbor, Susi Wyss, graced my walls for many months. Then an exhibition of all Handshake Editions titles.

Learned that I have diabetes (type 2) in the spring. Spent 16 days in the hospital Hotel Dieu, next to Notre Dame. Now I have daily visits from two nurses coming to my home every morning at 7.30 and every afternoon at 5. Barbara Engrand, Estelle Pilade and Eglantine Kaltenbach are three angels.

Not many trips this past year. One to Edinburgh for the Festival in August. John Calder and I were Guests of Honor at the Edinburgh Book Festival. John and I co-organized the first Edinburgh Writers' Conference in 1962 and this past festival celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Two sculptures were unveiled on the 22nd of August to honor my Paperback Bookshop (established in 1959). Sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, it was not an Honorary Doctorate, but how many people have two sculptures honoring their achievements? I stayed once again with Martin Burke and Ruth Holloway in Great King Street.

I celebrated another year of life on the 10th of November with a small dinner party here in my atelier. We were Kristi McIntosh, Cathy and Yves Monnet, Mary Bartlett and Paul Allman, Evgenija Demnievska, and Victoria Linchandg, Martin Lehberger, Séamas McSwiney.

The ritual dinners in the Terminus Nord when John Calder and Sheila Colvin travel from Edinburgh via London and the Eurostar continue. Recently we were joined by Natalia Shkola and Rainer & Sabine Kölmel.

No trips again to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Prague Writers' Festival or to the Calcutta Film Festival. I miss these sojourns and he many friends I have there.

Lots of visitors here as always: John Flattau, Natalia Shkola, Martin Walker, Martin Belk, Jonathan Pryce, Steve Gove, Dorota Chrisp, Stash Pruszynski, Jodi Poretto, Susie Parker, my cousins, Laurie and Kenzie Haynes.

Three outstanding theatre productions: Casablanca - Gin Joint Cut, written and directed by Morag Fullarton (with Gavin Mitchell, Clare Waugh and Jimmy Chisholm) was the hit on the 2010 and 2011 Edinburgh Festivals. I would love to produce it in Paris where I feel it could run forever, but alas too poor to do so. And Broadway Enchanté with Isabelle Georges and Frederik Steenbrink brought me and lots of friends a great deal of joy. Maybe I attended some dozen or so performances. A few nights ago I saw West Side Story. The fellow, Chris Behmke, who plays Tony has dined here and he wanted me to see his performance. But he was ill the night I attended and I saw another Tony. But I did meet "Maria", Jasmina Sakr and one of the dancers, Natalie Williams. I did manage to attend the last night of West Side Story on the 1st of January with Antonia Hoogewerf, Cathy Monnet, Hanna Dalipi and Simon Bejer. This time Chris Behmke performed "Tony" - which he did with great tenderness and sang the songs with perfection. We all loved the production and were pleased we were able to see Chris perform. Afterwards we dined in the Zimmer with Chris, Natalie Williams and with Natalie's sister.

Books: Six friends who are also outstanding writers all produced books. I can highly recommend all the books by Cara Black, Lynne Tillman, Alan Furst, Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Martin Walker. A dear friend, Scott Griffith, self-published Transplantings - A Memoir. He wrote it for his children and grand children. But I think it needs a wider readership. Another friend, Martin Belk, produced Pretty Broken Punks, which he gave me a few days ago.

Press: I was profiled in the Delta Airlines in-flight magazine, interviewed in the New York Times and had an article in the Serbian magazine, Novi Magazin. The French magazine, Telerama, also featured the Sunday dinners in an article. Jim Campbell wrote an interesting piece in the TLS about the 1962 Writers' Conference. Vicky Baker wrote a piece in London's Observer about my People to People: Poland book some twenty years after it was published. She traveled to Poland with Dave Depares and they plan to make a documentary film about the book.

2013 promises to be as eventful and exciting as 2012. The Traverse Theatre which I launched in Edinburgh will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. (But I date the creation of the Traverse to my first production in The Paperback Bookshop to 1960.) My main inspiration for creating the Traverse was the actress, Jane Alexander. I hope the Traverse will invite her to perform there next Festival.

Finally I am proud to say that I voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 and am pleased he has won a second term of office. To my pleasant surprise, I received a Christmas card from the White House and it seems to have been signed by the President, Michelle, their two daughters plus a paw print. I agree with the editors of Time Magazine, Obama is the Person of the Year.

May 2013 be great for all of you...

 

 

Jim Haynes
December 2012

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France

 

 

 

Jim Haynes' newsletter