Friday, May 2, 2014

from Turkey and Armenia to Russia and Ukraine

** Elif Batuman's The Possessed takes us everywhere from Stanford to Russia to Uzbekistan.

** I feared Batuman failed to mention any of my favorites from Russian literature (Shalamov, Olesha, and Biely among others), and then, like magic, Biely showed up in a footnote a few pages after this anxiety set in. So, yes, it was more like a doubt or disappointment, not a genuine fear.

** Arthur Nersesians's Dogrun has a Yuri Olesha reference!

** I read Turkish-American Batuman just before Armenian-American Nersesian, and, like a naive American-American dip shit, I imagine myself resolving the history of their ancestors.

** On Easter Sunday, we ate with people who described themselves as Ukrainians raised in Russia. The father came from the town that "Gooseberries" takes place in.

** An interpretation of Yuri Olesha's Envy is that it is equally critical of both capitalism and communism, Russia and its "foreign devils," and this is consistent with how I teach Ha Jin's "After Cowboy Chicken Came To Town."

** As you can see, I'm in a jam, and this sort of superficial listing is the best I can do.

** Also, I promised myself, I'd try to stop blogging and begin writing short little pieces I could then submit to journals and zines.

** I can't prove that the global news headlines continue to insist we are sliding into sustained global conflict, or World War III, but I can't prove that we're not.

** But blogging is easy and addictive.

** I must return to typing in more corrections I've made by hand.

** So I'll add detail to this another time.

** Fight for your long weekend!

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