Archive for April 2, 2009

Diary of a Soviet Schoolgirl (Part II)

Thanks to my Kazakhstani friend Yulia for fooling me with an April Fools joke yesterday. I was at my desk at work minding my own business at my computer when she peeked her head in at the door of my office and sternly asked, “Why aren’t you at the meeting?” Naturally, in my jetlagged state I started to panic and tried to think which committee meeting I was missing at that very moment. When she winked, I knew that I had been April Fooled. Yuliya admitted she had been pulling this same line all morning with her other teacher friends and getting a rise out of them. Obviously the climate at our university has made us all on high-level alert to not want to miss anything, especially important meetings, people are getting pink slipped left and right.

Yesterday I quoted some writing from Diary of a Soviet Schoolgirl, 1932-1937 by Nina Lugovskaya. I will just share some of the books that this young girl read. Turns out she was arrested in March 16, 1937 as an 19 year old and in the 1940s she was married to an artist in Magadan where she and her husband had been sent as punishment. She became an artist instead of a writer and had her first one-woman show in 1977, how I would LOVE to see her paintings. She died in 1993 at 75 years of age and her husband died the following year. I suppose she was cured of doing any more writing when the NKVD confiscated her diary and claimed that she was an “Enemy of the People” at age 19!!! What a waste, because she had a great mind and was a very good writer in her teens.

Nina’s diary was her confidant and was perhaps therapy for her while her economist father had been exiled early in her life. I always maintain that my best writing students are the ones who enjoy reading. The following is what Nina read which helped her descriptive writing:

Feb. 15, 1933 Lermontov’s biography

May 5, 1933 Turgenev’s “Smoke”

Dec. 14, 1934 Teleshov’s “Without a Face”

Feb. 10, 1935 “I could read Chekhov forever” Ivanov, Treplev “The Seagull”

April 27, 1935 Gorky’s “Makar Chudra”

Sept. 3, 1935 Goncharov’s 1859 novel Oblomov is hero in this book

Sept. 23, 1935 Mikhail Pokrovsky – five volume history of Russia

June 27, 1936 Lermontov’s “A Hero of Our Time”

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