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THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS 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.