пятница, сентября 30, 2005

post deleted

My goodness!
I put in about a 1/2 hour today in writing a post. And the server refused to post it. I lost all the work.

Instead of retelling the story, all I will say is that today's post was about:
  • Ludmila (I call her Lud, rhymes with "thud")
  • her jumbo dinosaur-size German-Asian shepherd Trevor
  • tranformation of consciousness
  • a painter from Seattle named Carol
  • the Dzhagannat vegetarian cafe
  • the cafe's nasty nasty seaweed belgian waffle-like items
  • a painting workshop
  • and a psychologist from Almaty who really models living in Open Space.
And all of this came up in one day!
Below is the painting I made devoted to Trevor's maturation, the transformation of his consciousness.

среда, сентября 28, 2005


"Moscow. I go to work. I go to my dacha. I go home."
Sasha, a stockbroker (a very honest one)

понедельник, сентября 26, 2005

Mom, John Lennon, and Larisa

"Maaskva is what happens to you while you're busy making plans."
mng paraphrasing mom paraphrasing John Lennon (I think)

"Tyranny and arbitratriness. Full on despotism. Horror.
Larisa on Maaskva

I met Larisa today walking out of the metro. She wanted to hit me up for 10 rubles. As a rule, I don't like to give spare, er, banknotes. And, if have a chance, I do offer to buy a person food. Larisa wanted a belyash, a fried meat pastry. The belyashi stand was too far away, so she settled for a ham and cheese stand at a Kroshka Kartoshka fast food stand. Kroshka Kartoshka's main menu item are baked potatoes and toppings. They are a must-try for anyone wanting to experience local fast food.

Try sausage in tomato sauce, mushrooms in smetana, or mushrooms and pickles with your baked potato. And do make a point of savoring the moment when the server insists that you got more than one topping. They seem to have gotten their customer service training from the same company. And if you don't get an extra topping, they all seem to have been trained to give you a deflated, unpleasant, sour look...The customer as traitor?

Larisa refers to Moscow as full of proizvol (despotism, tyranny, arbitrariness) because of her plight. She is on the street because she can't get an internal passport. She can't get an internal passport because the local militsia (police) have designs on her apartment. She can't prove it's her apartment because she doesn't have a passport. Her story is a common one.

I asked her if she'd sought out Andrei Babushkin, a Moscow human rights activist and lawyer known for helping out the down and out. She said she had for another case.

Indeed, Moscow was, is, and continues to be a very cruel place. What happened to Larisa could happen to anyone.

воскресенье, сентября 25, 2005

Sokolniki redux

Natasha suggested we go for a walk today in Sokolniki Park. Get some fresh air. And yet I was thinking to myself, "God, I go to my neighborhood park all the time. I'm getting tired of Her." Another voice suggested that I might appreciate her more if I slow down even more while there.

Sokolinki had this sad mood as usual. This time, however, we saw this small patch of (probably) poisonous mushrooms. Huge Mushrooms. Kiddie play versions of beach umbrellas but in lunar gray. For a day at a lunar beach? The edges of the umbrellas were a singed black. We stood in wonder at these mushrooms for a while. I regretted I didn't have my tsifrovik (Russian slang for "digital camera"). But then I remembered that I have this blog! What a gift!

To the left of the trail were other mushrooms. Smaller ones. Not-too-distant cousins of the supermarket variety, I imagine. These looked more like a bleached version of an unsuccessfully digested dinner...

After the lunar champignon landscape, a maple leaf caught my eye, infected with sunspots.

After our walk ended, I remembered I had promised my stay-at-home bamboo stalk which has been growing out of a bottle filled with Moscow tap water to buy a water filter by the end of week.

Bought the filter.

Natasha had told me that a truck had pulled by the local veggie and fruit street vendor. This truck was selling cheapo fruits and veggies from Orlovskaya Oblast. Not an opportunity to pass up. Sure enough, there was a line. One old lady complained how some people were buying produce without standing in line.

The man said, "Wait, do you want to someone who wants to buy a 35 kilo sack of potatoes to stand in line."

The old lady replied, "Well, I guess that's ok."

Another old lady with spunk walked up to the usual vendor (who seemed to take the short term competition in stride, surprisingly) with non-cheapo produce and asked the fruit and veggie woman if she had a 2 kilo watermelon. "Nope," answered the vendor, "the smallest ones are 7-8 kilos." The veggie woman continued, "This is melon season now. They're good for you."

The pensionerka pondered this and said, "I'm in my ninth decade, how can I carry this huge melon home?" No one overhearing this conversation came to save her. I considered doing my deed for the day but saw I had much I'd be carrying too.

Then our octogenarian noticed the jumbo aquarium and the fish lady selling huge live carp at 85 rubles/kg. ($3). I wondered it must be pretty claustrophobic for the fishies in the aquarium. The lady stared, fascinated at these fish, as if she'd never seen them before.

As I was observing this, it was almost my turn to buy my produce. The starushka with bright-bright purple lipstick and bleach blond hair told the Orlovskaya Oblast vendor, "Hey dearie, I'd like some onions."

"She sure is a dearie," I piped in. "The starushka concurred, "She is attractive." The vendor didn't react and when it was my turn to place my order, she smiled. She looked like my neighbor when I lived in Yasenevo...

Yes, sometimes I'm an incorrigible flirt. Maybe Sokolniki brings out the best in me.

вторник, сентября 20, 2005

the metro

I've been on the Moscow metro, and it was poetic for me as well. Especially one night when a group of us went to Red Square late to watch the midnight changing of the guard at Lenin's tomb. We escorted our translator, a young woman, to her stop and insisted that we could find our way back to the hotel. It was a long ride in the dark, all of us concentrating on the Russian station names so we would recognize the place to get off. --Joelle Shelton

пятница, сентября 16, 2005

About this blog о проекте

("Moscow: in our eyes")

Some love her. Some hate her.. But it's difficult to be indifferent to this town which London's daily Guardian has called, "the Las Vegas of the East." The Lonely Planet guidebook calls her "the most Asiatic capital of Europe."

Maybe so...

...and this space is an invitation to share your experience of Moscow. I welcome your submissions (in any language) if Moscow has been home for you if only for a few seconds.

I am especially interested in contributions written in your non-native language (unedited): Russians writing in English and English-speakers writing in Russian.

Creative pieces for this blog can be poems, non-poems, short stories, phrases, pictures, photos, mini-rants.

One note: I choose not to make this a space for creative work that is disrespectful of Russia and Russian citizens...That's not to say that I don't welcome irreverence.

To the extent possible, I wish to make this a co-creative project. Your thoughts and ideas for this modest online project are welcome. Please send your creative contribution to: maaskva@bk.ru And, I'll post it.

More on MNG
I was inspired to just do something to bring more creative spirit into my life. And I wanted to combine this with my interest in the Internet, exploring the open space of our lives, and building community.

I have lived in many parts of this strange and wonderful whirled. When I give a worldwind account of my life, some end up remarking: "Oh, you're a citizen of the world!"

I am not sure what citizen of the world means. Maybe it's a socially acceptable way of pigeonholing people who have no idea where they're from. Recently, the phrase "citizen of the heart" came to me. Maybe that's what we are meant to be in this life?

The notion of "citizen of the heart" has taken me to think that being at home is first of all about entering the open space of the self and accepting and letting go of the notion that there is even a self. I'm a far way from understanding this nonsense that I'm typing in a Moscow internet cafe, much less practicing it. But that's where I hope to go.

Might it be that being "being at home" has a connection with what Harrison Owen, originator of Open Space Technology calls "creating time and place," in his 1997 book Open Space Technology: A User's Guide?

Harrison writes:
Creating time and space is a uniquely human and humanizing activity. In some way, when we create our time and space, we create our identities- I become me, you become you, and they become they. Without our peculiar time and space, we just aren't...
So if a group of people wish to get together and accomplish something, they must have time and space...

Thanks, Harrison!

Might it be then, that "creating time and space" is first of all about being at home with yourself? Might it be that being at home with oneself is essentially all that we are called to do in life?

And now back to my story...Rewinding to the mid-90's...I was living in Berkeley, California. I had just graduated from UC-Berkeley with a BA in Soviet Studies. When I'd started studies, perestroika was in full swing. By my junior year at Cal, the USSR was but a memory. Specialists at UC-Berkeley (in a fit of desperation?) renamed the Institute for Soviet Studies, the Institute for Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. Whatever. Later, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offered Ingush at the graduate level. And Cal created an Institute for Caucasian Studies.

And, while at Cal, I'd be interested in ecology, community, Russia, Russian language. My poking around had led me to the Planet Drum Foundation The Planet Drum folks introduced me to the notion of re-inhabitation: a conscious, engaged approach to living wherever we are on Earth. This meant, as best as I can remember, learning about the plants, animals, and history of the place where one is living. It also suggested viewing the world as bioregions.

This, admittedly very superficial recollection of the idea of re-inhabitation has stayed with me. I have dreamt for the past few years that some day someone will give me a bioregional tour of Moscow: stories of the wildlife of Moscow, of Maaskva-reka, Sokolniki Park, Bitsevski Park, etc. I would love to learn to re-inhabit Moscow. Maybe I am. I know these parks mean a lot to me. But not just the parks.

There are many little things about this big city I am thankful for: its people, its oh so predictable unpredictability, its sadness, its roughness, its aggressive and creative energy, its metro, its identity. Moscow knows who she is. It might not always be pretty, but boy does She have an answer! Pow!

«Моско: ин айр айз»

Некоторые ее любят. Другие ненавидят. Но быть равнодушным к городу, который лондонская газета Guardian называет «Лас Вегасом востока», невозможно. Популярный путеводитель по России, выпущенный компанией Lonely Planet, называет ее «самой азиатской столицей Европы.»

Может это и верно…

…но здесь Вам предоставляется возможность поделиться Вашими ощущениями от Москвы. Буду рад получить Ваши материалы (на любом языке), если Москва была для Вас домом хотя бы на несколько секунд.

Меня особенно интересует материалы написаны на неродном языке (желателъно не отредактированые): например, материалы россиян на английском или материалы англоязычных людей на русском.

Можете присылась результаты Вашего творчества в любой форме: стихотворений, рассказов, отдельных фраз, рисунков, зарисовок, фотографий и т.д.

NB: При этом, не бы хотел бы, чтобы это пространство использовалось для выражения неуважения к России и россиянам. Однако, оговорюсь: это не означает, что я не приветствую юмор и шутки, которые иногда неправильно трактуются как проявление неуважения…

Надеюсь, этот проект станет нашим общим проектом. Мне очень интересно, что Вы о нем думаете, что можете предложить. Присылайте свои материалы на адрес maaskva@bk.ru

Подробнее о «Мaaskva: nashimi glazami» (“Моско: ин аур айз”)

Главным стимулом для создания этого журнала было желание внести больше творческого духа в собственную жизнь. И сделать это, используя свой интерес к Интернету, изучению открытого пространства жизни, и построению нового сообщества.

Я жил в разных уголках этого чудесного, удивительно закрученного мира. Часто, когда коротко рассказываю историю своей жизни, слышу – так ты гражданин мира!

Я не знаю, что означает быть «гражданином мира». Возможно это интеллигентный способ указать человеку, не знающему, кто он, его место. Недавно мне в голову пришла фраза «гражданин своего сердца». Может быть это то, кем мы все призваны быть в жизни?

Идея «гражданин сердца» привела меня к тому, что быть с самим собой значит сначала войти в открытое пространство своей души, принять ее существование отдельно от других, а потом и вовсе забыть об этом существовании. Я сам плохо понимаю то, что только что написал, сидя в московском интернет-кафе), не говоря о том, чтобы иметь подобный опыт. Но надеюсь, что он впереди.

А возможно, «быть с самим собой» имеет отношение к тому, что Харрисон Оуэн, создатель Технологии «Открытое пространство» называет «создание времени и места» (Технология «Открытое пространство»: руководство для пользователя. 1997 -- Open Space Technology: A User's Guide)

Харрисон пишет:

Способность создавать время и место присуща только человеку, причем только человеку, способному очеловечивать окружающее. В некотором смысле, создавая время и место, мы идентифицируем сами себя -- я, ты, они становятся сами собой. Без конкретного времени и пространства мы просто не существуем…

Поэтому если группа людей хочет сделать что-то вместе, у них для этого должно быть и время, и пространство…(стр. 58-59)

Ну, спасибо, Харрисон!

А быть может, «создание времени и пространства» в первую очередь означает быть самим собой с самим собой? И по сути это – наша единственная задача?

Опятъ о себе …Перемотка назад к середине 90-ых…Жил я в Беркли, Калифорнии. Только что закончил Калифорнийский университет в г.Беркли. Получил степень бакалавра по советологии. Когда начал учебу, перестройка была на своем пике. Уже к третьему курсу СССР уже относился к воспоминаниям из прошлого. Советологи при Калифорнийском университете (от отчаяния, что-ли?) переименовали Институт советологии. Он стал Институтом советологии и Пост-советологии. Ну-ну. Позже Факультет Славистики предлагал ингушский язык аспирантам. И Калифорнийский университет создал Институт Кавказоведения.

Когда я учился в Калифорнийском университете, я интересовался экологией, общинами, Россией, русским языком. Мои поиски привели меня в Фонд «Планета барабан» (Planet Drum Foundation) Там меня познакомили с понятием «вновь-обитание» (re-inhabitation), предполагающим осознанный, активный подход к жизни, любым ее формам. Насколько я помню, он включал изучение растений, животных, ландшафта, истории того места, где живешь. Весь мир предполагается состоящим из биорегионов.

Это, хотя и поверхностное представление о понятнии «вновь-обитание» осталось в моей памяти. Я все мечтаю, что в один прекрасный день кто-нибудь пригласит меня на биорегиональную экскурсию по Москве: расскажет истории о животных Москвы, о Мааскве-реке, Соколъниках, Битцевском парке... Я бы оченъ хотел научиться «вновь-обитать» в Москве. Кажется, что-то похожее уже получается, например, с парками, которые для меня очень важны. И не только они.

Я благодарен этому большому городу за многое: за его людей, его предсказуемую непредсказуемость, грусть, жесткость, агрессивную и творческую энергию, его метро, его неповторимось. Москва знает, кто она. И не все ее лица мне нравятся. Но у нее есть ответ на вопрос «Кто я?», да еще какой! Ба-бах!

Я могу рассказывать о том, что меня подтолкнуло начать этот блог, (живой журнал) и дальше. Но я хотел послушать вас. Посмотрим, где мы в конце-концов окажемся!