Friday, September 09, 2005

The current list of things to do is looking rather daunting.

I suppose there is really nothing that I can do to help this though. I don’t know why I have set for myself so much to do. Daunting….

I have been trying to be organized in my thinking about these tasks and I have tried to keep perspective on things. But for the last week, though I have kept a good schedule and done what all I have needed to do, it seems that as of the end of the day I have not completed the things I need to do. And this of course leads to the next days thinking and so there is more stuff dumped down on my desk. Daunting. That’s the only word I can think of to describe it: Daunting.

I read this guy’s blog the other day. It was a blog about his daily running. I am sure that to him it was very interesting but to me it was not very exciting. But I thought that it was very similar to my own blog because often I tend to go on and on about what work that I am doing. Certainly this would be a more interesting read if I would speak of other things. And things do happen- there are events; lots of interesting things worth speaking about occur all the time. But I don’t always get them, write them down. And probably the reason for this is that it is kind of work to stop your life, whip out the notepad and jot the thought down. I do this. I do, but not all the time. Is this a sign of a lack of devotion? Or is it more a sign of self preservation against potential insanity? Or if that’s the case, am I too late?

But I did take some notes. Let me take a look:

a. Too ,many things to write about
b. Working on the new book
c. Dealing with the farm
d. Anya has learned to say hello
e. Creating a Belarusian news page.
i. Here is an opportunity to put up some of the pictures
ii. Separating news from Propaganda
1. Not separating news from propaganda
iii. Dealing with Russian text
iv. Finding good news sources.
v. I am thinking about having an op-ed feature
f. Finishing unfinished business
g. Vasili anonyovich’s reaction to reading Pod Kablukom.
h. From previous lists: Selling cartoshka over e-bay
i. Fighting with Tanya at the dacha
j. Digging potatoes at the dacha
k. Waiting for the apple truck/son kills his father/digging potatoes
l. (From Dacha notes) The feeling of safety from Living in Belarus

This was this morning’s list of potential topics… Ok, in their way, they are all pretty interesting. Actually letter j. has already been taken care of. I wrote about that about five days ago.

Maybe I do need to write about the work though, rather than just doing the writing. Of course if I do this I will be getting further behind. But no, I need to do this.

Ok, this is what is going on. Firstly we are flat fucking broke. And what is worse is that I have just lost one of my systems that allow money to come to me. And this is very bad. I mean, I have been living with this cramp in my stomach, seemingly forever but at the moment it is even worse. I had no idea I would be in this bad an economic situation. And I certainly didn’t believe four months ago when I agreed to start in with that residency document. At the time I thought that it would be worth the money to pay for the visas because in the end I would not have to pay for them any more. But that was just simply not what happened. We ran out of money. We didn’t get the document. We needed stupid things like buying food, paying the light bill, things like that. And then there wasn’t any more money.

And so I find myself in a position of needing to do some different things in the hopes of getting some new money. Some of these things you see on the blog, such as the advertising and such. And some things I take care of privately without mentioning them. But in the midst of all of this I get days like today when the sheer workload that is in front of me backs up like a stopped up toilet. And the stench from all of the unfinished work mixes with that queasy abdominal feeling and I start feeling like a zoo tiger pacing in his cage. What do I have to do to get out of this?

Hence all of the work.

But there built-in problems with the situation. I really I would like to be able to continue the life I have started here, but I understand that I might just need to go. However, the going requires an interesting amount of money; the tickets the transportation after landing, the cost of food and housing when I am there. Ironically, if I would have such money I could make it go 10 times further here, and feed Anya and Egor and Tanya, but then again I am very hard pressed to find any money here so this is not a self perpetuating things. And of course if I leave to go find work, there is me, working along somewhere, paying American rent, paying American prices, and trying to find enough money to send back to people that I never see.

So what I am doing is that I am trying to do both things at the same time. I am building up what assets and potential assets I have hear, and at the same time I am looking outside of here for work.

I realize that what I just said to you might sound as though I am over stating things. But this is not the case. And the reason that I am absolutely limited in the amount of time I can use the internet to do my hunting. I have dial up, it is pretty slow and the rates at any other time other than the middle of the night make internet usage impossible for us. So of course this means that I have to set the alarm for early, early, early, shake the cobwebs from my addled brain, pad over to Egor’s room where the computer is, try not to make too much noise while typing and deal with dial-up’s inherently slow performance. After this session, I might think that a little sleep would go well, but actually this is the time when the house sort of revs up. Anya needs to be fed, Egor needs to get going to school and Tanya is as always very noisy about all of it. And of course I like to eat breakfast too.

So usually it is after this when I try to get to working on the book, which is one of those this-is-what-I-really-want-to-do things and is also one of the great reasons why I am here. And then there are the letters that need to be written. And then there are all of the corrections and editing and rethinking of things. And sometimes, there is this.

And, as in the case as was yesterday, I had to stop in the middle of everything to get on a bus, ride up to the farm and take care of all that needed to be taken care of there as well. And yesterday was a bigger day as usual, and more expensive, because we had to hire a car to bring our potatoes back to town. Money I would rather have not spent, but there was no other real choice. Pennies we count here, don’t you know.

If you glance back up at the list you might begin to see how all of those items I mentions sort of fit together. And maybe also you can understand how sometimes I get a little reticent about sitting down and agreeing to fight with some of these ideas for two or three hours if I can avoid it.

So, all of this being said, I would like to state for the record that I am still into this. I am into this because this is something I love to do, the writing I mean, and I am into it for the day when Zarmba’s head gets shoved into a toilet by some Polak prisoner who remembers him from when they were both on the other side of the wall. He of course being the one who set the wheels in motion; he put me in such a position that had to begin living my life in this way.

And so firstly I am looking for more readers. I have some ideas. I am going to be trying to set up a news page that has to do with Belarusian current events. I have also thought to include a forum for political conversation about the situation, Lukashenka, human rights and what exactly is supposed to constitute the minimum acceptable amount of recourses a human should be able to have. And I want to make the Being Had Blog better and more interesting in general.

So that’s why I am doing that. And the money is the motivation behind most of the other work. And the money problems and the necessity to work only late at night while the people around me insist on actually living like daylight people is just part of the texture I guess. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Cost of the internet between the hours of 2am and 8am:
5 rubles a minute (13 cents an hour).
Cost of a phone call to the US begging not to have an ATM card shut off:
Cost of the phone bill without internet usage:
$1.16 a month.
Cost of the phone bill last month (including internet charges):
Getting to write the words: “I am into it for the day when Zaremba’s head gets shoved into a toilet by some Polak prisoner who remembers him from when they were both on the other side of the wall” and sending them out for the whole world to see:

Lots of changes taking place around here.
Chapter 26 of the serialization of the book BEING HAD is over at
I also have a new FAQ page, and a whole slew of interesting links that can be found over on the HOMEPAGE.
Write to me as always at
And thank you for reading me.

More soon…