red beet –> bad light
When I was 8 or 9 months old, I could sit but not walk yet, my mother used to leave me on the couch with a pile of books and go to the store for groceries. When she came back the books would be stacked neatly on my other side in reversed order. She timed her absence with the amount of books, but she never had to hurry because I looked through them thoroughly.
The first time my parents left me home alone for several days I got all the Dostoyevsky’s Collected Works out and next to the couch. When they came back I was shaking – Dostoyevsky’s characters are so hysterical.
I insisted on reading when I had migraine attacks, that was the only way I could ignore the headache, queasiness and flickering lights.
I didn’t really have friends until I was 14, and my parents found it sometimes difficult to deal with my reading addiction.
I still have a feeling of guilt when I read – once I start I cannot stop and I don’t do anything.
With this website, reading now is filed under ‘work’, the same thing as I did with my summer house vacations.
the story written for my book Dacha, 2009:
A novel is a mirror carried along a high road.
A novel is a mirror that strolls along a highway.
A novel is a mirror which passes over a highway.
A novel is a mirror walking along a main road.
A novel: it’s a mirror you take for a walk down the road.
(different translations of Stendhal’s famous quote from The Red and the Black)
My friend and a former classmate Kim Bouvy told me this story recently. I was rolling ‘snowballs’ from sawdust and wood glue for an art school assignment – definition of identity. When asked to explain my idea behind it, I said: ‘That’s the Russian way – you roll on and things stick’.
To me now it sounds like a rather fatalistic (very Russian indeed) life philosophy. My hopeful genetic instinct tells me that good things stick and bad experiences you learn from.
I don’t remember those sawdust balls, it was 17 years ago.
As much as I like Stendhal, I believe that objective storytelling is a contradictio in terminis.
Kolobok is a cocky dough ball from a Russian fairytale that tries but fails to escape his fate of being eaten.
I told my mother what I was writing; she said that Kolobok was happy the whole time he was rolling.