Archive for the ‘Chat’ Category

When I Am Sad

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

When I am sad, and the dark state of the world is weighing on me, I rely on a two-step system to get me out of my funk: I first retreat to my comfort read, Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals; and then I attend a Wealth & Giving Forum event, which shares philanthropic best practices and inspirational tales among wealthy families, so that they give smarter and better to charitable causes. This cool organization exists largely because of co-founder and chairman Glen D. Macdonald, who has made it his labor of love and gift to the world. It’s a small jewel of an outfit.

The Wealth & Giving Forum’s event theme on Wednesday was the epiphany – that intuitive insight into reality that usually inspires action. Bruce DeBoskey, president and founder of The DeBoskey Group, a Colorado-based consulting firm for philanthropists, started the night with a riveting story about the time he went backpacking through Turkey in his 20s. On that trip, DeBoskey witnessed an entire village physically taunting and mocking a mentally-simple man the same age as DeBoskey. The villagers threw rocks at the bewildered young fellow, poked him with sticks, put a bag over his head.

Afraid the mob would turn on him if he spoke up, DeBoskey walked away from the scene, uttering a prayer, as he left, “that god will help me never to be a bystander again.” It was his epiphany and led him to become an acclaimed trial lawyer “raging against the machine” and a philanthropist. He could not speak of the horrific event he witnessed for 40 years, even though the vision of that tortured young man “worked in me – and continues to work on me in powerful ways.”

What followed that evening were similarly inspiring tales by Katie Meyler, the founder of the More Than Me Foundation, who, among other things, is shaking up Liberia’s education system; Gary Oppenheimer, a self-confessed New Jersey gardener geek who has built a Web-based platform at Ampleharvest.org that allows amateur gardeners to deliver their surplus produce to food pantries around the country; Tom Rutledge, a hedge-fund fixed income manager who is also the chairman of GiveWell.org; and the overachieving Chandrika Tandon, who is a Grammy-nominated composer and vocalist, after she had a Blue Chip business career that included a long stint as a McKinsey & Co. partner.

But my favorite speaker of the night was Walter D. Woods, a high-ranking executive at AARP before having a crisis of the soul when he entered his 50s. A cri de coeur led him to a two-week horse trek through Mongolia — and his epiphany.

The sheer stamina and endurance needed on that trip reintroduced him to his “timeless self,” he says, and, back in Washington D.C., it led him to a career change. He is now devoted, as president of The Good Samaritan Foundation, to helping the elderly in our nation find their resilience and “feel loved, valued, and at peace” – those intangible psychic bedrocks that his own parents instilled in him as a child.

My heavy tread of just a few days ago is both lighter and more determined.

 

 

Goodnight Om Puri

Friday, January 6th, 2017

RIP dear friend. I know you’re going to give another outstanding performance in your next role.

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A New Start

Friday, November 4th, 2016

No matter what stage in life you are in, you have to fight to stay fresh and challenged and embracing life, for all its worth. I am trying. Hope you are as well.img_3411

Defying the Terror

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

UnknownIn this time of angst, when civilization seems so perilous, it is particularly pleasing to celebrate my latest publisher, Zodyak Kitap of Turkey, coming to the fold. I hope the Haji family and Madame Mallory do particularly well in Turkey and Zodyak Kitap is justly rewarded.

2015 Citizen Diplomat of the Year

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
Richard C. Morais in Kindergarten at ICS, with friend Yuko

Richard C. Morais in Kindergarten at ICS, with friend Yuko

All my writing life, I have quietly tried to find what I have in common with characters far different from who I am and the heritage I was born into. I did this entirely for my own selfish reasons, so I wouldn’t feel so strange and alone in the world, but many years later, it seems the fantasies I explored in the privacy of my writing room have resonated with others.

This week Global Ties U.S., an umbrella group for over 120 non-profits that is helping to “shape U.S. foreign relations by opening avenues for greater understanding and cooperation,” is granting me their highest honor, the 2015 Citizen Diplomat of The Year, an award largely financed by the U.S. State Department.

Why? “Mr. Morais is receiving this award for promoting cross-cultural understanding in all his literary works,” Global Ties U.S. stated in its press announcement.

There have been nine other recipients of this prestigious award so far, including Maya Angelou and Senator J. William Fulbright, so I am sure you can understand why I am deeply moved by this honor.

Palm Springs Film Festival Appearance

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

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Love books and movies? Want to be in balmy Palm Springs in January? Then come join The Power of Words:  Book to Screen, a January 8th, 2015, event that is a new part of the superb Palm Springs International Film Festival. It’s an all day affair of literary panels and movies, discussing how books make it to screen. Among the talent speaking:  Author Mark Bowden and scriptwriter Ken Nolan, on their film Black Hawk Down; and writer Amy Jo Albany and producer Albert Berger on their film Low Down. I’ll be sharing a panel with the fantastic  Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants and The Possibilities. A few of the films will be screened on January 7th, the night before the full day symposium.

Come join us. Should be fascinating.

Come Dine With Me

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

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Come dine with me, in my favorite Indian restaurant in New York, proceeds to go to the wonderful homeless charity BRC, with a signed book and film poster thrown into the pot. To bid for the meal, please go to CharityBuzz.com.

The Hundred-Foot Journey Club

Monday, January 20th, 2014

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“A hundred-foot journey begins in that moment when you bravely drop what is familiar and cross over into a new realm that is far out of your comfort zone. It is a profound journey, however small in physical distance, that materially changes the course of your life for the better.”

 

That’s the intro to a new club I have created. The idea is simple.

Anyone who has made or dreams of making a hundred-foot journey can join. My goal is to build a community of like-minded people who understand that even the smallest events and initiatives can transform one’s life for the better. If you have a hundred-foot journey story you’d like to share, please write it up or make a short video and send it to me. Every month my team and I will pick the tale we find most moving, and, upon anointing our hundred-foot honoree, will send them a signed copy of The Hundred-Foot Journey book. I look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more or submit your story, visit my new website, The Hundred-Journey Club, and visit our regularly updated page on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Pierre Cardin Bio Reissued

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

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Delighted that my unauthorized biography, Pierre Cardin: The Man Who Became A Label, has been reissued in e-book form. I wrote the book when I was in my 20s, when we lived in London. Published by Bantam Press, it was greeted with critical acclaim when it came out in 1991. Here are some of the reviews from back in the day:

“Richard Morais has an easy, witty style which carries one with panache through the life of a fairly unattractive man. It’s a journalistic style which matches his subject perfectly, but his power of description – the rue de Rivoli in early morning, London’s Teddy Boys in the Fifties – suggests a more sensitive talent searching for fulfillment…. There is extraordinary, often startling information throughout this book, but the pleasure is in the writing. I hope he is working on his second book.” –  Moira Shearer, The Sunday Telegraph

“Morais’ style makes for compulsive reading.” – Sir Ralph Halpern, Sunday Express

“Cardin is undoubtedly one of the world’s most successful businessmen, and how he got there is a fascinating story which Morais tells colorfully and well. It is no hagiography; neither is it a hatchet job. He has caught the essence of the man.”  – Lucia van de Post,Financial Times

“The author’s analytical business mind unraveling of the complexities of this secret empire is the strength of this book, which, in the world of vainglorious fashion biographies stuffed with glossy pictures, is thorough, excellently researched, racy and entertaining.” – Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune

“I praise a very efficient piece of journalism…. an astute journalist who has not been seduced by Cardin’s charm…. This excellent book is heady stuff to the aspirant dress designer.” – Sir Hardy Amies, The Daily Telegraph

‘Cardin, an extreme eccentric, has no business organization and operates on total confusion…. The book is full of hilarious tales of mismanagement, and the very weirdness of his life: a homosexual famous for his affair with Jeanne Moreau, a man who talks of himself in the third person, who lives alone with his 90-year-old sister, dresses like a tramp, and can hardly shave, a world of millionaire megalomania worthy of Howard Hughes.” – Adrian Danmatt, The Times

“A controversial new biography.” – Jonathan Cooper, The European

“Morais has a readable, if scurrilous line in gossip: we learn that Jean Cocteau liked to masturbate behind a two-way mirror in a local public sauna and that the fashion designer Balenciaga used a clean linen handkerchief to clean his dog’s bottom during walks.” – Lisa Armstrong, The Independent

“’It was instantaneous. I knew his reputation as a homosexual. I didn’t give a damn,’ Jeanne Moreau said. Paris was amazed and Cardin’s boyfriend André was furious. He threatened suicide and had to be bought off, says Richard Morais, in a well-researched, unauthorized biography…” – Peter Grosvenor, Daily Express

“Packed with wicked gossip, scurrilous anecdotes and mountains of contextual information. …Morais dissects several myths that most of the press are happy to swallow.” – Men’s Wear

 

Japan Joins the 100-Foot Family

Monday, October 21st, 2013

tra_other_img01My new sub-agent in Japan, the famous Tuttle Mori Agency, just held an auction for the rights to The Hundred-Foot Journey. The  winner of the bidding was the Japanese publishing house, Shueisha, which publishes everything from comic books to Proust in Japan.

Kangei – welcome – or 歓迎.

That brings the publishers worldwide of The Hundred-Foot Journey to a robust 25 houses.

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