Saturday, October 01, 2005


A bit of a long absence, this. I'd intended to be much more prompt, very thorough; it is my way. But many things have happened, and as a result I've been driven under-ground, hence this posting's title. What can I say? Well, I have to rely on an internet cafe to post, and there was the stuff with the reading list ("About this Stalin story ..."), and then the fact that much of what I found myself writing involved people I'm around most every day. Perhaps that is why books will always survive blogs; you can reveal more in a book that you publish later, from the safe remove of time and place. Then there's also this, I've been in and out of doctor's offices since I got here, hacking, coffee, sometimes limping, and through it all I've been given a glimpse of a medical system far different than the one I've come to know (and hate) in America. My doctor asked that I not write about this, and to honor that request (after getting over the shock of the request itself, which is a weird validation of sorts) I've refrained from posting here. So: I'm actually writing a great deal, but when I got here I found that what I was writing about and what I'd expected to write about weren't exactly the same thing. Maybe this is evidence of a deeper work. I don't know. But for the time being, the press is in the garage, running through the night, and leaflets are being hidden in the linings of coats, handed out to only the members of the underground.

It's probably just temporary, while this first chapter is deatlh with, and after that I'll be able to open things up again. And now that I'm getting over this flu, which has kept me down much of the week, I'll at least be able to get out and about and see more of Kharkov, which is for the most part clothed in either tiger-print or Dolce and Gabbana, so far as I can tell. Then too I'll be visiting Belgorod, just across the Russian border, where a friend lives. I had hoped to do that sooner, but this last week I had my passport taken away -- for a week, I was first told, then two weeks, I was told -- so my presence here could be registered with the local police, who sound more sinister when you use the Ukrainian name: militia. No other Fulbrighters that I know of have had their papers -- and hell, I'll go ahead and call them that -- taken away for such a long time, and I only know of one other who has registered with anyone other than the US Embassy -- a fellow Kharkovite -- but then this is the Northeast of Ukraine, not flag-waving, chest-thumping L'viv in the west, not sunny Odesa or laid back Yalta to the south, and certainly not Kyiv, the country's most international city, right smack in the center. Kharkov, more than any other oblast, leans East, and it has been slow to change in some sectors, particularly those relating to security and a certain governmental agency that went by three letters, the first of which I'll spot you: K.

1 Comment:

Anne said...

"Maybe this is evidence of a deeper work."

I'm glad you are thinking this way. It would be a shame if you stuck to a plan you made before going over there. I hope you let the plan unfold, and let your experience influence the plan.

I hope you feel better.