Friday, June 25, 2010

Some things to talk about other than the leg…

Ok, so I mentioned last time that there was a wide spectrum of things I wanted to talk about here in this long unused blog space. If I have to pick a first subject to go into before getting into the unpleasantness of my current situation, I think I’d like to talk about some of the projects I have been working on off and on for the last couple of years. I mention these because this is the first time I have been in the United States in 8 years and aside from the impeccable care I received from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, I sort of had hopes that, while I am actually here, I might be able to have some face to face contact with a publisher or two and perhaps get the book “Being Had” noticed or to at least have the story finally put out to a wider audience. I am not saying this is life or death; I mean, Poland was what… eight years ago already? But if there was some chance to actually get it all out via legitimate media, well, that would be just fine for me.

But then again, this is not the only literature I have produced. Aside from the book and the play (Pod Kablukom –which by the way was ripped off and used in a Russian TV movie) which have always been available on the side bars of this blog, I have also just finished a screenplay called “Paradise”, which I think is actually pretty good. It is a science fiction piece, which is something I have never tried before and on my own, probably never would have chosen. It came out of a class I had with three Belarusian teenage boys and it was really, a lot of fun to put together because there were a lot of interesting ideas at play and the interaction and discussions that led to the eventual text were a lot of fun. I also think that it is the most popularly oriented thing I have ever written in that my intention was for a broad audience and not simply art house. I really don’t have a fixation on poverty but I did think that this might have some popular possibilities. This is actually the second screenplay I have written. The first came from last year and is called “Nadezhda/Hope”. This was a Russian language screen play with English subtitles.

And then of course there is the infamous second book. Now, not to make excuses but I have been very, very busy over the last few years. My teaching in Pinsk became more and more popular over the last few years and this last was actually my most successful. I guess working three years without a vacation helped to build up the student base and the reputation. Not to be resting on laurels because there is always room for improvement. But I mean I have pride in my work and in some accomplishments and the good results I have had from the method has really taken shape to the point that I am really comfortable guaranteeing competence (reading, writing, speaking and comprehension) in less than a year.

But I digress.

There were also many negative situations with Tanya and her perpetual insidiousness with Anya this along with my health issues has made it really difficult to find the time and energy to work out the details of an extensive project. Not to mention that it is virtually impossible to write a present tense novel, a novel for which you don’t know how it ends. Possibly this leg business or actually exiting Belarus for the states for the first time in eight years, though I probably would have liked a happier ending, creates the closure necessary to frame out the project. I don’t know. This is why it’s been so hard to get it going. Well that and that no body is paying for it. That means something too.

But then there is one other thing I have been thinking about doing. If I did manage to make any headway in the attention department, I think I would like to ask, on behalf of the state of Belarus, for a little leniency from the American establishment. I am speaking of course about lifting the sanctions and allowing more access to the American markets. I understand these are times of crisis for everybody and I am not saying that the US is the only possible marketplace but as a now long time resident of the Republic of Belarus, and this is all politics aside, I just would like to point out that allowing for the ability to make money by selling products which were produced by Belarus, would be the most intelligent gesture that could possibly happen on the part of the US. I use this word “intelligent” because there is such endless and long term poverty in the republic and really, it s so, so, so difficult to make money out there, and this is speaking about both state workers and independent business people –they really do work for such incredibly small sums –that easing the tension might help defuse the potential for a future missile conflict.

Now we know that this tension is exactly what is desired by the Americans and that it is there ostensibly to oppose the on-going presidency of Alexander Lukashenko and anti-democratic and human rights issues. But to me, and I am someone who is old enough to remember the pre-glaznost, pre perestroika, pre Gorbachev cold war where the potential for nuclear exchange was a pervasive part of the collective consciousness, I don’t want to add to an already volatile situation. The depression and hopelessness that can go along with an annual income of less than $3000 is a cold hard reality right now and this has been the truth of life for a long, long time. And such a situation does not breed reasonableness. And, if push come to shove, which of the two nations is prepared to handle the return to a 18th century lifestyle? Which nation has experience farming eradiated land by hand? And for that matter, which nation has its people scattered over 8 time zones? Who would really win such an exchange?

So I ask: Why is it necessary to make things worse than they already are? Why not let the market itself dictate the value of the products and services offered? Where is this not also “The American way”? And with the opening of the markets, the real onus would be put back on the Belarusians to work with the market, to make improvements and increase quality to the point that there is real salability. Or in other words, actually being allowed to function would force the country to think entrepreneurially and individually which, if I am not mistaken, is all that has ever been asked of the former communist country. Keeping the republic financially isolated only increases the republic’s desire to retain control via marshal law and a military culture.

I worry about tensions leading to large scale war. I have no belief that humanity has learned to control itself because there is never anything in the news which says that we can. And this is on any front leading up to and including the catastrophe in the Gulf. Do we actually know what we are doing? Therefore I am an advocate of easing or abolishing all sanctions and restrictions placed on the Republic of Belarus and allowing them to participate in the American markets with the tractors, mining vehicles, clothes, fertilizers, food stuffs and technical products that the republic has to offer. I’d also like an open dialogue to be available rather than the perpetual snubbing and back biting. This is the way to truly help the Republic to grow ad to become who they must be on the global maps: the bridge between east and west, which is what they have been waiting to become since the fall of the wall.

So this has been a long piece of writing but basically, this is what I have been thinking about as I sit here in the Metropolitan Jewish Geriatric Center in Boropark, Brooklyn, trying to come to grips with the loss of my leg and how that might influence the rest of my life. I guess this also means that I am still going after some sense of satisfaction here even after… what, eight years now?

Anyway, this is what I have to say today. Thanks again for reading me.

More soon…