Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dreaming of the beach…

Today, I am trying to somehow find a handle on the course of this book and am sitting here putting together a list of major themes which need to be taken into account for the story. On one level though, I am not really convinced that autobiography is all that interesting really. There needs to be a good perspective on the whole of the account so I could probably better work this as fiction. Certainly this would allow for a deeper portrayal of certain characters because I would be allowed greater license to speculate on motivations and such. In fact, I have often even thought of not portraying the whole of the account at all, but to try to tell the story as a film script, cutting it down to its basic visuals to make the account more...available.

Looking at yesterday’s writings gave me a couple of items for a list of themes that might have some interest for people. It’s a pretty simple list and it includes the economic situation, mobility, unrepentant fascism, and of course that I am also working on a text book which relates to my method of teaching English over here. That's actually a second project and frankly, one I would rather work on because it more directly relates to a positive potential result. I really mean this actually, because demanding to relive some rather awful moments is not going to be anything like an enriching or joyful experience. And speaking personally, I am about catharsised out as far as personal revelations are concerned. But I mean, I like working, you know, and I like my profession and really, I would much rather just do that.

And in fact, speaking of teaching English, I really should mention a remarkable piece of ESL writing I got back from a student today. This lady really is quite a talented writer. In fact, here, I’ll show you that piece of writing:

Today is Wednesday, this is my working day and I am at my office in my chair.
Everything is wonderful, the day is sunny and the weather is warm but I haven’t free time.
I must continue my work with documents and reports but I want to close my eyes.
I want to have five minutes of rest.
My dreams can transport me into a new world(,) to a seaside and I allow them to do this.
One, two, three… and I am at a beach.
I feel hot sand under my feet.
The wind is so salty; it blows up small drops of sea water and tickles my skin.
I see caps of white foam; they appear on the scene and (then) hide behind the waves
The huge waves run one after another and break with a din.
I hear their somnolent song.
I want to be in my dreams but I can’t stop my working day.
And again my hand moves to the phone because somebody wants to give me a job.

I noticed that this particular student had a very remarkable gracefulness and a lyricism to her writing but she had no willingness to try and get it out. I have been trying to get her to build on it and today's homework was an example of that. I think there is a softness to her hand which is a very enviable ability. Often, when I am teaching Anya piano, I have to remind her not to play as if she is driving nails with a hammer as there needs to be some softness and grace to the presentation of music. Of course the reasons for that heavy-handedness also relate to one of the other major themes of the book- but I am not going to go into that today.

I also got another piece of homework writing in the mail today that made me smile a bit…

Today (I) walked with my best friends.
We came (to) our old school yard.
The school (years were) so long ago (they) seem to be in (a) past life.
We were walking around the school and remembering our school time.
I had (an) unusual feeling (about this).
Tomorrow I am going to drive to (visit) (my son)
Maybe he will be very glad to see me.
We are going to swim and to sunbath.
I am going to bring him some treats.
I am looking forward [to] tomorrow.

I really have to say that getting good homeworks really does make me happy. And so these, along with some letters from readers of yesterday’s post, really put me in a very good mood. A little bit of reasonable return, a bit of support is never a bad thing, especially during times when you feel that everything might be coming undone.

Wait… shit… my water is burning.

I just burned all of the water out of my coffee pot. I don’t know how many times I have roasted my coffee pots.

I guess what I am talking about here, or maybe, what I am trying to build here is a book that has some resonance to it- And some emotion. And some realism, which I think is an apt way to describe Russian music and literature and so on. Emotional realism might be a good term. And to do a reasonable job of telling the story.

But I cannot say that I enjoy depression, if this is a good way to say this, and certainly I do not enjoy it as much as Belarusians seem to. It must be an oxymoron to say that one enjoys depression but it really does seem that way and conversations generally bend toward the negative. And in trying to analyze this and asking myself why it is like this, other than simple habit, I usually draw the conclusion that the real identification with depression comes from the obvious fact that here, one is simply not free. And this goes way beyond freedom of expression or arguments about the vote. One is trapped and a slave economically, culturally, emotionally and, you know, that’s it.

I am extrapolating here, but the point is that when one understands or agrees that the situation absolutely and simply is that one cannot move, when there is exactly no choice and when you are handed your fate at an early age and told that this singular road has no viable options or alternatives and that failing that road leads only to shame, disgrace and of course, alienation and banishment from the group, I would think that this would make being from here an amazingly discouraging thing. I certainly have been handed this myself any number of times and not just from here, so really, this is a universal theme. I didn’t like it when I was beinig had by the Polish and liked it even less when I twice got it from the Germans and I was shocked when I even got it handed to me by the Americans in Brooklyn! These stories are of course a few more of the book’s themes.

But I think that it is obvious by now that I do fight this. I really do. I don’t like fascism and I don’t like suppression and I am tired of corruption. What? Did you think I changed my mind from the last book? And I also know that in talking about my Belarusian experience, I will seem to be talking about communism, and probably I am, but really, the point is that there is such a downward gravity to all of it and I myself simply do not understand why all of the hope must be constantly taken away. And this is especially true for the children. And most especially true for mine.

I do believe, and I guess this is politically speaking, that it is the individual who is the answer to the problems. I believe in having (allowing for) a vested interest. I believe in responsibility. I believe in second or third chances. And I would think that there would have to be quite a few people here who would agree with this. And I do not just believe these things in a flag waving sense either. It is just hard finding the right voice with which to show this.

More soon...


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