Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A grandma on a small white stool...

This is exactly my point; actually getting the words out of myself and onto a page. This is something I am having a hard time doing and actually, I have been having a hard time doing this for the last two years. I want to explain this but like I said earlier, I don’t want to explain it. The reason I don’t want to explain it is that explaining it doesn’t mean anything. You either have or you haven’t. And this, that I haven’t leads to the bigger question: Do I want to do this? And, by way of further explaining, asks the questions why I would or wouldn’t want to go back to writing.

Because I have an interesting story?

Why I would want to of course would be the possibility of publishing a book, making some money and creating some sort of a situation… that might mean something to somebody about…something…I mean, the book would be relating to the politics and social nature of the republic of Belarus and maybe its particular human comedy. This could include, include pictures showing the results of fascism (is this a revisitation of Berlin in the early 1930’s?) and maybe even some pictures about how the world actually treats places like this – you know, places without violable resources to steal or hedonistic getaways to take advantage of.

And of course to make some money.

Or maybe it is just about creating more interesting conversations than the ones I actually currently have. This is probably another subject which bears some thought.

And then there is a physical problem which needs to be solved in that I am finding it harder to live in my body. I am sort of making adjustments. I changed my diet. And that I like this new diet and the foods that I am eating right now- and that I am getting some sense of strength coming from it, I mean obviously, this is a very positive thing.

But what is more discouraging is that I only have this space at this desk to do the writing. It can get rather uncomfortable here and being confined is exactly what creative thinking does not need, so how to work with that is another interesting thing.

This is not to say that I am complaining about my place here. It is not a bad place to be generally or to do some writing. I am pretty well set up so I would not say that I am exactly tortured by living here. The only real setback to doing a project here other than physical pain and lack of energy is that during the school year, I have a pretty good stream of students coming to see me, or at least I had this during the school year.

But of course, this is how I make my living so really, I cannot consider it as a negative and also of course, it has no relation to the place at all…

I should interrupt this narrative to say that right outside my window two cops are busting an unofficial vendor. The road near my place leads to the market and for time immemorial, pensioners have stood along the road selling things from apples and veggies to home made pillows to try and make some extra money. They do not pay for a spot inside the market so they are officially illegal and so though everybody and their grandmother knows that this takes place, and always has, the sight of a “uniformed” policeman heading down the road sends the old ladies scurrying. This one today was not so lucky.

I know her though. This particular grandmother is a neighbor and, like most of my neighbors, is related somehow to my friend and landlady. At the moment she’s got her stool with her, the one she sits on while peddling, and her bag of socks, stockings, scrub pads or whatever it is she was trying to sell and she is screaming rather loudly and gesturing wildly with the stool. Two blue male policemen are standing quietly and taking their time doing the process of busting her. This particular grandmother is also the mother of a retarded lady. I don’t know exactly the nature of her mental problems except that she basically hangs around the area, looking for attention, yelling at the kids and is almost completely incomprehensible to speak with to anybody except my alcoholic neighbors who seem to be able to connect with her on some real and meaningful level.

At the moment, the cops have sat the grandmother down near the walkway to my building to write her up. She is still screaming like mad at the men saying that they are wasting her time, and to be perfectly frank with you, I could not possibly agree more. I don’t know why it has to take two Pinsk policemen to bust a grandmother. Especially when, in the current economic situation, this grandma, like a lot of others, has had her pension cut down by the inflation to something like $50 a month- an amount which is obviously far below starvation level. As far as I know, she has no husband or anybody really taking care of her in any way and so the few kopeks she receives from her selling is obviously necessary. And quite possibly, as I was reminded yesterday by my young attorney, when they get around to turning on the heat, come October, because of the inflation the cost of said heating will have doubled and this grandmother, along with any number of people who similarly survive only on government pensions, are going to possibly be heading out onto the streets because of the impossibility of paying for said heat. And so considering adding in the fine she is going to have to pay to the court for selling contraband socks and stockings and scrub pads illegally, I guess I would be pretty angry too.

Anyway, this grandmother is now sitting on her stool, her retarded daughter sitting next to her on her own stool and laughing at how funny her mother is acting, and continuing to scream violently at the policemen who, being well trained and disciplined policemen, have the situation well in hand. And, as these cops are good Belarusian men, which means that they have been well versed in good manners, they are calmly allowing her her chance to rant as they write out her ticket. This is not a dangerous situation and obviously there won’t be any rowdy disruptions here. This is a stable country after all.

But getting back to the point, I think what I am really pissed off at, and I am going back to when I was much more serious about writing, is that I used to like gravitating from café table to café table, sipping coffee between creative stints. I would do as much writing as I could and then walk around to clear my head and then find a different café to sit at. This freedom of movement of course led to freedom of mind and allowed for the completion of different sorts of projects. Of course this was in more civilized towns that actually had cafes and in a different body which had better mobility. Pinsk, Belarus probably couldn’t be considered Paris in terms of café standards even in the summertime and me, well, you get the idea. It’s just a different world altogether, hence, the problem.

More soon...


Anonymous Bill said...

I think it is good, I like how you were writing about the grandmother and giving back ground on why she was doing what she was doing and what might happen in the winter. As far as being a different world most people do not even know where Belarus is let alone what the living/economic conditions are like. Maybe a little more detail on that might be good.


Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Thanks Bill. I am trying to start a couple of writing projects that I have been putting off. I guess it is just a matter of getting into shape for doing it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Anonymous Bob Dowlut said...

The war against entry level entrepreneurship. Wide-spread self-employment does not allow for a vertical hierarchy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

this is true and, in the model you mention, without a solid entrepreneurial base, the actual structure becomes a house of cards

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Anonymous Fredda N said...

Hi Adam...It seems that living in Belarus is very difficult at best for you and your neighbors. Your writing is well executed and informative(in my opinion) .but I don't think it will change things for the better. I still wonder why you would choose to live in a place where life is so difficult and one has so little control

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

what you say is true. But I do live here and I do have a daughter here and that, along with helping her get to age 18 with a good head on her shoulders and a good wide selection of opportunities before her is the most important thing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Anonymous sveta said...

After reading a story about your impressions, which is going on around you ... I confess, I was surprised about grandmother ... You're so observant? Bravo, not everyone can consider the ordinary things in our lives. My opinion is formed, why and unpublished, I think you can try. If I catch the meaning, I can say that I liked.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Anonymous Bob Dowlut said...

This reminds me of a tale told by Josh. New York City. Flower vendor with no license to sell flowers. Surrounded by policemen. Flowers discarded into a trash container. I do not recall if he was given a citation. When Josh, Jim, and I were in Pinsk in 2008 we went to a market (they call it a bazaar). I noticed policemen telling old ladies to go away who were attempting to sell goods outside the boundaries of the market. However, the militia now are no longer telling old ladies to go away, they are now giving them a citation. The Belarus authorities should keep in mind an American saying: you cannot get blood our of turnip. How is this old woman expected to pay her fine?

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Anonymous Юля said...

A like an idea of this new story. I think I saw this situation in our town . I think it is not only one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Anonymous Дина said...

Good evening, Adam! You wrote beautifully!

All this is true, but some very sad...

I find it hard to assess, because I live in this country.

I understand that something is wrong, but how to change it?..

Thank you. It was interesting!

Thursday, June 23, 2011  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Thank you Dina. I wish I knew the answer to the question.

Thursday, June 23, 2011  

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