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The Literary Groong - 04/14/2007

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	By Ara Baliozian

	Readers - they are my only secret:
	gentle readers, avid readers, concerned readers
	willing to correct me
	whenever I stray from the straight and narrow,
	eager to remind me that
	honey catches more flies than vinegar
	(so does manure, but never mind about that now).
	Writers of the past were not as lucky as I am.
	During the Soviet era, for instance,
	the only advice our commissars had for our writers
	was a bullet in the neck.
	Under Talaat in Istanbul
	at the turn of the last century
	things were no better.
	But what's done is done.
	Let bygones be bygones,
	and as my readers keep reminding me,
	it doesn't pay to dwell too much
	on negative things;
	and as the Good Book says,
	`Let the dead bury their dead.'
	After centuries of brutal oppression
	we have finally emerged
	from the darkness of the past.
	We have seen the light
	and no power one earth
	can thrust us back into darkness.
	My success is not mine alone
	but that of Armenian literature as a whole,
	and by extension, that of the nation.
	For readers create great writers
	as surely as great writers create masterpieces.
	I have no doubt whatever in my mind
	that we now stand on the verge of a Second Golden Age
	beside which the First is as nothing.
	A new generation of great writers is about to rise
	from the ashes and soar
	like a phoenix into the stratosphere
	where masterpieces are born
	and Nobel Prizes awarded.
	All because of gentle readers
	who are committed body and soul
	to the welfare of our literature and culture.
	When during a visit to an Armenian community center
	I was asked why so far I had shown
	no interest in encouraging a new generation of writers
	but preferred to live in solitude in the middle
	of nowhere,
	I had been dead wrong to reply:
	`What the nation needs more today
	is not writers but readers.'
	The truth of the matter is
	I have many more good readers than I deserve,
	avid reader, concerned readers,
	able literary critics all,
	whose sole aim in life
	is to raise our esthetic and moral standards.
	My gratitude to them knows no bounds.
	I am what I am because of them.
	My success is not mine but theirs.
	I say to them what Samuel said to God:
	`Speak, Lord, for Thy servant is listening.'
	God bless you.
	God bless Armenian literature.
	God bless Armenia.

Ara Baliozian was born in Athens, Greece and received his education
in Venice, Italy. He lives in Ontario, Canada and writes in
Armenian and English and has published over 20 books of his
works. He has translated works from Armenian writers, such as
Grigor Zohrab, Zabel Yessayan, and Kostan Zarian into English.

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