Ponder, if you will…

“In theory one would think that power belongs to brute force. In fact, this is not the case at all: power is wielded by the magician, by the man with subtle sleight of hand. It belongs to the light-fingered cutpurse. Power belongs to art.”

–Andrei Sinyavsky (1925-1997). Excerpted from A Voice From The Chorus; translated by Kyril FitzLyon and Max Hayward.

In my senior year of high school, lingering in Miami High’s library, I began noticing these interesting names on book spines: Zamyatin, Voznesensky, Mihajlov–to name a few.

I’d been introduced to Russian writing courtesy of a very, very shambolic World Literature class. And over the fateful summer of 1982, I introduced myself to the work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn (One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich) and the collected stories of Nikolai Gogol.

One book I read during that final year of HS: a slightly acrid, bisque-paged collection of essays by a Bulgarian writer, Mihajlo Mihajlov, titled Russian Themes. And I came across a strange name in those essays: Abram Tertz, a fiction writer whose work had to be smuggled out of the USSR and back again. The more I read about him, the more I wanted to read his stories.

That would not happen, however, for several years. In which time I learned that “Abram Tertz” was a pseudonym for Andrei Sinyavsky, and that, along with a contemporary of his (Yuli Daniel, aka “Nikolai Arzhak”), he was arrested, tried and sentenced to seven years in Soviet labor camps.

But nothing prepared me for A Voice From The Chorus, culled from the letters which he sent, from camp, to his wife, Maria. It was a tour de force: musings on art, on prison life, on whatever caught his interest. And I had to read it, again and again.

And it is a book that I reread even now–a fascinating glimpse into the Brezhnev years, the persecution of writers and artists after Stalin’s death, and what moves a writer to craft and create.

Memory, Affective

This afternoon, I received the latest issue of the alumni magazine from Bennington College.

Between that and my reading of Augusten Burroughs’ memoir, <i>Dry</i>, something hit a chord with me, and I began thinking about Edward Fox.

Beautiful, beguiling Edward, all glossy black hair, bright hazel eyes, plush pink lips, and long, graceful fingers.

Lovely Edward–otterlike, sleek, hands and chest and arms furred over.

Charming Edward, so skilled at dance, so quick to laugh, his mouth a sharp white flash.

Edward, who never needed to do a single drug in his life: he was a drug, uncut, unmediated.

Edward, whose lips would never kiss mine, whose hands would never ghost over the nape of my neck.

Edward, who was the great love of my life–a perilous Muse to a heartsick poet.

New Themes: Blog Simple and Skylark

New Themes: Blog Simple and Skylark.

In the souldark night…

To those who follow me–here and on Twitter–I ask for your patience and understanding. Please bear with me.
My weeks of househunting have been more than a little frustrating; one place offered turned out to be a scam; two places wouldn’t let unless I had work and/or filled out a credit score report. (How in the world do you get a score without a credit card? That’s what I’d like to know.) And my cash stash has been so depleted that I couldn’t even scrape up bus fare to view other places.
At the moment, I am also without a cell (matter of do-re-mi to pay the bill), so even calling the places that I find intriguing proves a challenge.
And yesterday saw me at my lowest–unable to get through to two friends (one who did not want to be disturbed as he was ill, the other whose visit I missed, and I could not let him know I was behind time).
In a perfect storm of depression, pain, and grief, I pulled out paper and wrote a suicide letter, incorporating elements of a last will into it. Not my first time writing such a note, but the first time I finished one, and itemized what I wanted to give away. It was scary, cathartic, and exhilarating, in a perverse way.

I went for a walk, later on, and wound up at AA, a sobbing mess.

Why am I writing all this? ‘Cos I need support at this time. I do. I don’t think I will follow through, but I need to know that you hear me, and that I’m not an imbecile or a freak for feeling so low. If you decide to unfollow, I wish you well. I do. This is heavy stuff.

But if you stick with me, I can promise my gratitude, my loyalty, and my love.

So thank you for hearing me out.


Sorry I’ve been away. Things have been, to put it nicely, sheer, full-on dramarama. I’m still looking for a place–and I have an eye on a studio off Le Jeune for $500, which would be great. I hope it’s not taken, and that I can arrange a tour. Cross your fingers for me, people!

In the meantime, I’m also reading, researching, and lamenting being without a phone. (My poor, poor cell sustained serious water damage. In pace…!) By this time tomorrow, however, I should be back in circulation. A dear friend of mine has given me a BlackBerry. If MetroPCS can convert it to use, terrific. If not, well, another friend has spotted me for a replacement.

On a tangential note: if anyone from the Herrera, Garcia, or Trujillo families is reading this: hey there. Your black sheep kinswoman would like to hear from you.

From the chorus…

We do not write a phrase–it writes itself, and all we do is to clarify, as far as we are able, the accumulated meaning concealed within it.

Andrei Sinyavsky, aka Abram Tertz (1925-1997). From A Voice From The Chorus; translated by Kyril FitzLyon and Max Hayward.

Skinned knees and househunting

Today’s been an interesting day: started by feeding Ten-Ten the Wonder Cat (happy cat=sated, happy kittens), and getting dressed a bit.

Ran late to the Coral Gables Cultural Council neeting, but did stay for an enlightening talk or two about classical music in South Florida. I also got a firsthand lesson on the art of the urban forage…there’s a story for a long day.

Went to speak with Fr. Saba. Was nervous as hell, and weepy to boot, but he was very no-nonsense, and encouraging. Helped to put my situation in perspective, at least, a little.

I think I’m going to forego the 1/1 at the David William. Not that I want to leave the Gables, but it may be better to get myself in a decent place, with some furniture, than to try and navigate hoops. My life is a hoop jump, as is, and the fewer I have to navigate, the better–for now. I’m going to call Carmen and Jackson, see about seeing a couple of places. Need to touch base with Juan, as well, and start packing up. Will also give a call to Out of the Closet–there’s no point keeping what I can’t use, and frankly, I’d feel better knowing someone else can use what I’m losing.

Oh–the skinned knees? Tripped on the way to the library. My left knee is sore and scraped. Thankfully, nothing worse happened…

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