I must call somebodies! Akim said to me as we parted ways. His bowler sits so high on his head it looks tophattish. The wind and the cold were lionish today though the beginning of march was sort of lamby. Trust this north to do things the other way round. Akim and I met with tugsoo from the Asia Foundation today to hammer out deadlines for the wolf book. He agreed heartily to the idea that the book signing ceremony could be held with attention to the most recent efforts to create a PEN center; specifically the differences between past closed-Soviet-"PEN-clubs" and the branch of international PEN I'd like to help Mongolian writers create, which would be open to any writer to apply for. The book signing ceremony will publicize that difference, and I couldn't ask for anyone better to agree to this since Akim is the ONLY literary guy I have come across who gets along with Mend-Oyoo at the academy of culture and poetry, Baigal Saikhan at the Freelance Writer's Union, and Chilaaajav at the Writer's Union.
I think I'll always remember the big hug Akim greeted me with when I came into his office yesterday—he told me he had read my rewrite, and that I am a poet.
The guy who translated the manuscript that I had to rewrite sentence for sentence is the best Mongolia has to offer in the way of translators. This Akim told me today through Tugsoo in the smoky pub that was home to our meeting. Akim first took us up the stairs of some business building. Where are we going? I asked. I don't know, said Tugsoo, but I smell food. We got to the third floor and akim opened the door and said wwwwhohhoa! because there was no restaurant there anymore. Just some piled of powder of plaster and chairs, and dimness. This is emblematic of mongolia's shiftingness (I understand we're at an impressive latitude, and that the horizon seems quite flat; all the same, the shifting is always going on and the sidewalks are always pocked. I'm surprised I haven't fallen up yet)--I was concerned for Akim; he's a tottery old fellow and usually is home napping by the time Tugsoo arrived--We laughed an adjourned into the frenzied wind, me holding Tugsoo's hand because I was afraid of the traffic and old Akim simply holding his hand out in front of the cars, whiched stopped for him as they hardly ever stop for me.