me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Crabbiness and Chinese Music

Had dinner and went to a concert last night with my friend Keith Snyder(hi, Keith) who's feeling crabby, and therefore is in no mood to suffer fools. As he put it, "I'd like to pillage a village, but there isn't one nearby." So he's been making do with de-inflating gasbags. This is very entertaining for his dinner companion, and beneficial to society as well. If you want to watch from the safety of the bleachers, try his website:

We heard a concert by a group called Music from China ( of pieces recently composed for traditional Chinese instruments (the erhu, jhinghu, pipa, dizi, and percussion). I love the sounds of these instruments; the pieces were successful to varying degrees. I liked the percussion piece very much, but Keith -- who knows a lot more about music than I do -- gave it an "eh." The surprise to me was the flute duet. The bamboo flute (dizi in its Chinese version, shakuhachi in the Japanese) is not one of my favorites, because of its association with endless meaningless New Age meandering. But this was a wonderful call-and-response piece.

Like most music, it would take me half-a-dozen hearings before I could decide whether or not I liked some of these pieces. For some of these pieces, though, this could be the last time this decade they're played in New York. Traditional Chinese music has enough trouble finding an audience, and modern music for these unfamiliar-to-western-ears instruments... but the musicians of Music from China keep commissioning and premiering work, and for that I congratulate and thank them.

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