Sunday, December 11, 2005

Not the Marrying Season

Tomorrow, I go to the English-Teaching Resource Center at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy to give a lecture on contemporary American short fiction and to speak about how to run a writing workshop. At first, I was asked to run an actual one-day writing workshop, but when I responded by saying, "To run a writing workshop, I'll need some participants to write a story beforehand," plans were downgraded. Now me and the post-graduates from the university (along with perhaps some professors and administrators) will discuss Nathan Englander's Gilgul of Park Avenue (one of the strongest stories in the very strong collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges) and Adam Haslett's "Notes to My Biographer."

Later in the week, I hope to track down a translator who works with American men visiting the marriage agencies. He's promised me an interview, but has proven hard to pin down ever since. Anonymous? he said. Anonymous, I promised. So: Soon, I hope. Soon.

Beyond that, what else is there? I've set up several interviews for the spring, when the western men will return in force (Winter is not the marrying season, I've learned). Kharkov's Staprius Club should also be opening its door any day now, if it hasn't already, and so I'd like to document that. I was invited to the grand opening party two weekends ago, but then I never got the call to say if it was on Friday or Saturday -- I can only assume it got delayed, or that I'm an easily forgotten guest. I could also be tagging along on a marriage agency tour in Kyiv near the end of December, which should be fun because it's already got one other tag-along scheduled, a film crew taking footage for a reality show. I'd like to be the camera filming the camera. But on this and much else, we'll have to wait and see. It is the Planning Season more than the Marrying Season.