Sunday, May 18, 2003


It has been a few days - no, strike that, it has been a few weeks since I have sat down to write this daily essay. For a while, I was quite into it, and even parlayed the work into the writing of the first draft of this book I am trying to write. But the writing stopped. And why the writing stopped is what I wanted to write about today.
I think that any writer needs two things in order to do the work of producing pieces of writing. I think that he or she needs someone who is listening, and the time and space to actually do the work. And the work of writing is not like fixing bicycles, an activity I seem to have some vague recollection of enjoying maybe a million years ago. In order to write, one must be able to think clearly, because all writing is simply the reflection of one' thoughts. And if one is not free to think, well, there is the problem. And I have been trying to do this for years, but it is the difficulties of my life that keep me form doing what I need to do to create decent things.
Now I do feel I have some talent. I know I am not the greatest writer ever to walk the earth. But I am not the worst. I think I have a decent understanding of English grammar, and I am a reasonable, though untrained typist. And I also think that I have something to say when I write what I write. And this comes not only from the plays I have tried to produce, but also in these prose essays I have been writing of late. Did you know that the Russian version of Pod Kablukom has now two theatres that are interested in it? Very true. And I really hope that this book will be something that will be received, and it is my hope to have some good ability to write it in the next few months.
But none of this is possible without the ability to sit and to concentrate on what I am doing for some reasonable period of time. For a while, when I was first back in Belarus, but the energy of the excitement of being back, and of being free from Poland after a year of being held-and that I had the time in the mornings, and the money necessary to pay for the desk at the internet cafй and write all of those words you read several weeks ago. And, I got some support from two of the people that are on this list in that I received money from them. From one, it was somewhat expected, but from the other, completely not. And the receiving of checks did nothing but make the situation better, and will forever be grateful. But why the writing stopped was because the peace of my situation became tainted. There are money problems that would not exist but for the perpetual Polish thievery of my time and my mind, and it became a problem for me to continue because even the money for Internet was no longer available. And what was worse, some of the money that was supposed to come, was held back because of choices that were made on the part of the sender to make a situation that was different from what I had before, an operation that took more time then I had, and in the arguing with me over it, took also the last of my peace and my concentration.
There was a study done on school children in the sixties, regarding class distinction (as in family money, wealth of the neighborhood) and the type of education that was given to the students in the schools of the various classes. And the study proved that there were great differences in the style of education: the richer kids getting educations that would allow them opportunities in the upper classes, and the poorer kids, taught things that would set them in the direction of the factories and the trades. But it was also made clear, that the difference in education was not specifically prejudiced against money. In the parts of the tests where the things that were learned by the students overlapped, it was found that the lifestyle of the poor was simply not conductive to study and thought because of the lack of time, quiet and materials needed. A poor child coming home from school, may have a remarkable series of things awaiting him, alchalolic parents, poor nutrition, drugs, violent neighborhoods-or simply that there is no one to be with them and to make the homework seem as though it were in any way important. In fact life leads to thoughts that on the contrary, there is no point in trying, so just decide that the noise is all part of a party and enjoy the time when you can. Certainly kids like to play, but there is a difference in the life of a boy who comes home to something clean to eat in a clean home, and one who comes home to a beating.
So the same applies to me. I am, I suppose as we all are, looking for my little place of peace. I find I like quiet much more then I like noise. I am not sure I have ever liked screaming and yelling. And this thing that I have been trying to with the dramas and such, is a very difficult thing. They take a lot of energy to write, and if one is to take them seriously as works of art, or works of literature, then one is compelled to treat them with respect and kindness. I simply can't sit down at the typewriter and demand that good work come from my head. I need some stability of place.
I remember my great yellow lab, Sam, who we had when I lived in California. Fantastic dog and a remarkable retriever. I spent many hours with him working on fetching and retrieving games- it was wonderful. We used to draw crowds of people who would watch us work because the dog was so perfect and the quality of the "tricks" was so good; fetching three sticks thrown in three differ34ent direction in a prescribed order given from a silent hand command. Sam was the best. But one day I was feeling very upset personally. I had had a bad day at my job or something, and I felt very angry. And so I took Sam out for some work as a way to reduce my tension. And this was the mistake, you know, that I was more interested in my tension than in spending time with the dog. And of course, you knew it was going to happen, there was a mistake, and dog was confused. The mistake was probably mine, I don't remember, but I acted on some impulse inside me and slapped the face. I remember clearly the look on that dogs face at that moment. I guess I had never done that. That dog was breaking its heart to be one with me, as a dog will do, and I, in one moment changed his contract on him, telling him that he was also to be a punching bag for me when I got angry. And I lost a piece of him that I knew I would never get back. No, he forgave me, dogs do that, you now, but there was a reservation that was entered into his thought process, that took yup some space in there, and would be there like a scar for the rest of his life. I just went ahead and made him harder, didn't I. That wasn't what I was trying to do. I wasn't thinking anything about that dog. I was only feeling small about my self because the world was bad to me that one day. And so it goes.
So I got a slap from one of my patrons, and it hurt and changed things. It put some anger into me, into a place that up until that time there was no such thing. It was like and infection, and, I guess it was too much for me to handle. It spread like a wild fire all over everything and everybody. It got into the production of the play and the people I was working with. Smiles turned to frowns around me and tiny issues became like wars. And the peace with which I was living, and this was separate of the money issue, disintegrated around me so quickly it was like being in New York all over again. And my thought process was altered, and my thinking diminished. My girlfriend sat there telling me thing to cheer my heart, but I could see the damage even on her face.
Just another little piece of something wonderful I will never get back.
And I don't ask for more, because I was kidnapped by a bunch of assholes in Poland. I don't need a fucking tickertape parade. I didn't even really ask for anything, but for the help to do the things I wanted to do, which might be seen as no different than with any investment-any simple business investment- just some money that might lead to a return on that investment in the future, nothing more. If I had nothing to offer, I would never bother anyone. But to be told money was coming, and that it was such a thing that would have helped, and then to be told that the process was going to change, regardless of my complaints of timing, was bad. The situation was simply too fragile because of the ridiculous poverty in which we are all living there, that even this little game offended the hypersensitive feelings for their poverty that the Belarussians have, and my house I was trying to get started, got turned into a house of cards.
I don't blame the Belarussians. In fact, I do love these people very much. But what I think is a remarkable misunderstanding by the west is not just that there were money problems then, and there are money problems now. In the old days, out of a sense preserving of community and keeping the peace in their word, a world in which people were asked to live together well without the yearly escape to Mexico or the Riviera. People were asked to find that place of love and acceptance in their daily lives. And they did so, to a remarkable extent. And if you have a recollection of the Bolshoy ballet, or that Uri Gregaran was the first guy in space, (don't laugh at me Tatyana!), you have to understand that these people were civilized folks. They were educated and well spoken and read. And there was an element of respect for each other, they we simply do not have in out competitive, "me or you" western lives. They have the fighting now, on their own scale, but it is new. But you can't take someone who actually does know better, and make fools of them and expect them to simply laugh at your little game. Such a thing is like a nazi atrocity.
So you simply can't play baited hook games about money with people who will… I wish there was some way to make these words very, very large, I wish I was a better writer, I am such a fool for the truth, I don't always set up my points very well, these people, the Belarussians, are living lives in which there is no single thing to hope for but that the passage of time might provide some miracle that will ease the burden of a poverty that falls to the level of the ability to eat food. And know that monetarily, they do not have enough to pay for the food that they eat, and that these same people used to have this all together, and that they were at one time living a life of sufficient peace and tranquility to exist as those of the upper and privileged classes.
So there was nothing for me to do. I had to make some value judgments of the most ridiculous nature. If I stayed with Tatyana, simply the money to feed me would kill everybody in a matter of time. And this problem would be compounded by the high cost of Belarussian visas for Americans, which would be out of the question for her to pay for. And this included of course, the time at the desk for writing the book or whatever. She did offer me the month if I wanted it, a simply act of kindness which one takes into account the money situation, is about the same as offering me a kidney, but I refused. I decided to come back to Poland to try and work out some plan to help us out with. I did have this appeal that I had to write, and I am in the process of writing this right now, even as I type this entry, but afterward, and i am only speaking of days here, I have to go somewhere. But if there is no money for me to try and to fight the Polaks for the money they owe me (and I think I have a case), or to put together a book and a publisher about all that has happened (I also think I have a case), even after a year of simply waiting to go home, it looks as if I have to make some choice to go elsewhere to find the money that simply doesn't exist for me.
It is only that the money that was supposed to have come from this benefactor, because of the game that was attached to it, and because of the conversations that I was made to have about it, took all of the trust and the love out of the money. All of the peace and security that would have been there from such a gift was lost, and that is the problem. It's the same a Sam the dog, or my schoolboy coming home from school only to be met by a parent needing a training session so as to make themselves feel better because the world was bad to them that day. It is only the truth. Just, yet another tiny piece of trust-and you simply must know that trust is in fact one of the most beautiful things in our world-gone.
Anyway today was an interesting situation. I had some hours, and I am quite sick. My appeal is at a place where I am almost ready to go but for only a few small papers still to be translated for me into English, and then I will know that I can speak without fear of rejection do to unpreparedness. My judge ironically does not share my fear of writing without paying attention to the details. I smile when I say this, though there will never be a Christmas card for this woman. And, just in case you are interested, the appeal is going to be centered on a deprecation of what they are calling evidence. This is not so much legal trickery as that phrase might imply; in fact, it is just the opposite:
The medical report used by the cop to show damage to his face when I hit him, does not in fact show such injury as was stated in the judgment, but in fact only stated that the cop had a fat lip and complained of pain. However, it specifically does not tell us that there were broken teeth as were presented in the original charges. Those statements were in fact lies.
The psychological report done on me does not say anything whatsoever about any permanent mental incapability on my part, only that I was probably angry over having been hit by a car, and in fact does not one thing to prove anything about the situation I was accused of.
There were four people who stood as witnesses against me, but two of them, the cop, and the guy who bought the car from Zareba were absolutely not eye witnesses to the event though the court seemed to think that that were, and that the actual text of their statements to the courts were such that the cop… and I'll just give you the whole testimony here… I can copy it:
I don't know why I am in court. I don't know the accused; the date means nothing to me. (After reading his statement from the day of the incident) I don't remember that situation.
And the other guy said that he had bought the car from Zareba just after it had had yet another accident, and this was in June or July (they never give any dates, these Pollaks), and that the car had slammed into something, destroying the front bumper lights and the whole left door. and the roof carpeting... and of course Zareba was the driver.
These two guys statements are taken by the court as in concrete agreement with Zareba story, and that she finds them compact and logical. And I just used her words to say that. Stop laughing, it isn't funny.
And finally, there is the great document submitted on august 30th, the document that was the key in allowing the case to go to court in the first place, this document was a estimate of the damages to the car. In its introductory pages, there is a section where, the inspector, obviously coached into saying so, states that in his opinion, the damages to the car "might" have been caused by a hand. Not my hand. Just any hand. And not that they were, only that it was possible. And this was taken into the courts as well as some concrete thing, and it came along with the estimate, which gave the courts their number as to what where the actual damages they say I caused, some number like $1100. However, the court, the prosecutor back in august 2002, Zareba and my attorney all thought it was quite unnecessary to notice that there were actually new damages, that were not apart of the original inspection of the car, that the bill included these things, or that the report was made 100 days after the incident. No worries of tainted evidence here. Also interesting was that at that meeting, Zareba had no problem incorporating the new damages into his charges against me while at the same time denying the car had ever had any previous damages. And this made his statements of that day quite clever because he managed to withhold evidence about a traffic accident in January where he had driven a car into a tree, and now yet another, only a month or so after our time while at the same time demanding to tell everyone of the quality of his driving. The man had three major traffic scandals, all of which caused damages, and yet the court seems to think his driving and his honesty is praiseworthy (again, her words).
So there is no evidence except that the cop who doesn't remember actually said in the report that the biker came around the bus, which refutes all of the Zareba's stories about the incidents at the bus. And this is not a problem of whether or not he was a witness because the person that gave him this information was in fact Zareba. And that Zareba committed yet another crime when he coached his daughters testimony to the courts. All goes to character I suspect. I want a lot of money for this.
So that's the story folks. I don't know what the writing or the living situation is going to be. In my perfect world, I will be back with my beloved soon, and we will be once again, though I imagine with quiet smiles this time, admonition our wannabe gangster to eat his soup in the morning. I want to write this gook about this year, and I want to do a good job on it. I want to see my play played and not only here, but in New York and elsewhere. And I would certainly like to figure out how to get those bloody fish to stop laughing at me and come home to dinner. I guess I will know what all is up shortly, and you do know I will do what I have to. Such a life… such a life…
Thank you.