Monday, 18 November 2013

Tirana Papers - Acknowledgements Page

The 'Rock Garden' of Albania 1

The story of the title. At first it was called 'travel journal'

then it progressed to Overlapping Times. The quotation at 

the beginning, by Paul Mojzes says that 'time in the Balkans 

is understood mythologically rather than chronologically'. 

Time was different there, no doubt of that. Near the 

beginning of the book, I wrote 'I begin to wonder if it is such 

a simple thing, future following on from past'. So when I 

came across the Paul Mojzes quote, I felt he had put his 

finger on this difference. 

And there was the albatross, a portal so it seemed – 

mythological time, or metaphorical 

time, similar to dream time, to Alice-through-the-looking- 

glass time, where you meet people or creatures who are not 

'real' of course they're not, you've only come across them in 

books or films and everyone knows such characters are not 

real – the Dormouse, the Mad Hatter, the Walrus and the 

Carpenter from Alice, Isolde, 'mein Irish Kind' and 'Marie' 

and the 'hyacinth girl' and even 'Madame Sosostris', all from 

The Waste Land. And the albatross, straight from The 

Ancient Mariner. Not real? Ah but they are, a reality

different from the familiar everyday one perhaps, but still, 

very real. And this mingling of characters from different 

realities, including the past, was what I was trying to convey. 

But I abandoned that title and went for a quotation from

Faik Bey Konitza's essay, where he called Albania The Rock 

Garden of South East Europe.  

But earlier this year, during one of the final edits, I decided 

to go for something simpler.  So it became Tirana Papers as 

my friend Rob had always called it, when referring to it. And 

I discovered that was just as well, as Konitza's quote has

been used for another forthcoming book of essays by him,

and since the title was his and has always been his, there 

could be no question of me using it too.

Llogara Pass - The 'Rock Garden' of Albania 2

I thought the book was finished at the end of June. The 

editing part anyway. I had read it and reread it, checked all 

the spaces between words and at the end of sentences. I had 

become acquainted with the difference between en dashes, 

em dashes and hyphens. Then I got to work with my 

wonderful editor and book designer. Cover – yes, I knew 

what I wanted the cover to be. She worked on the image. 

And the text. No, it was not finished, it turned out. It had to 

be proof read, not by me, not again. By someone else. Then 

again by me. Then there were these commas... Go and read it 

out loud she said, as you would a poem. Then you'll find out 

where a comma's needed, or not. And even after it had been 

proof read by someone else, minuscule – but crucial – small 

errors were found to have slipped through, so it had to be 

read through one last time. 


And these small but loud errors are something I notice now 

when I read other books which is why it is so important to 

have someone else look at the text, preferably an eye or two 

that has never read it before.

Book signing
 (Photograph by John Reiach)His website is full of lovely images.

I did not include an acknowledgements page in the book, 

because once started, I would not have known where to stop. 

How could I miss out so-and-so? The list would have

become ungainly. It might even have become something else 

entirely, a whole new chapter, or story. So I took the easy

way out. But I am indebted to Jennie of Main PointBooks 

and Textualities, for all the amazing work she put into it. To 

my friends and family who encouraged me all the way, to  

Robert Carver 

who made so many helpful suggestions, and to all the friends 

and colleagues who appear in the pages, particularly Rob 

Snashall who came up with the title, when we were in 


To Tom Bryan who encouraged me to keep a journal in the 

first place, and wrote me a letter every week in the days 

before emails had completely replaced letters. 

To P* who wrote long emails and sent me books and 

earplugs when I couldn't sleep at nights for the barking dogs. 

More recently, to Bejtullah Destani who has given me 

editing, translating and reviewing work that's been such a 

practical help while I was working on the book. 

To Sean Bradley, for including the launch in the Word Bank

programme of events in Edinburgh. 

And to all the angels, both incarnate and discarnate, who 

have given assistance, when energy and motivation flagged. 

You can read an excerpt from the book here - with apologies 

for the peculiar fonts which of course are not present in the 

book itself!

Design for a bookmark:Images of Albania

From top to bottom - 

Museum at Kruje, 

Bicycle Stall, Tirana, 

Museum at Gjirokaster, 

Donkey & Bunker, near Dhermis 


The Solitary Walker said...

Congratulations on the book, Morelle! Looks like you're selling a few signed copies there… excellent.

dritanje said...

Thanks solitary walker, it's fantastic when you have people queuing up! Only thing was, I couldn't get a glass of wine until I'd finished!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Well done ,your hard work this summer has certainly paid off.I look forward to reading it soon.....



Tout d'abord, félicitations pour ton livre et longue vie à lui( et à toi, bien sûr).
La première photo est remarquable. Cette blessure, véritable ouverture des entrailles de la falaise , je la verrai bien servir à un décor d'opéra.

Belle soirée.


dritanje said...

Ruby - thank you for all your encouragement, for being there throughout the years, always inspiring.

Le Chemin des Grands Jardins - c'est ta sensibilite vers la nature qui peut voir la falaise comme decor d'opera! C'etait bien un jardin des dieux grecs - peu connu - et peut-etre deja le decor pour quelquechose bien differente...