My friend Andrew Matveev recently interviewed me for an article in the Russian magazine Energopolis. The title -- and the last line as well -- of the interview is I Haven't Yet Decided Whether to Burn Down Moscow. Which might well make me a lot less popular in Moscow, while at the same time boosting my ratings in the rest of the country. In the eyes of Russians who don't live there, you see, Moscow might as well be a different country. In fact, that was the first joke I ever heard on Russian soil: "Have you heard that Russia's opened an embassy in Moscow?"
Well, obviously I have no hostile intentions toward Moscow, which is a city I love and fear. May it prosper in peace forever. I was talking about the Darger and Surplus novel, which has now reached its climax, when I have to decide which direction the plot will take. Yesterday, I got out my map of the city and, using coins for markers, plotted out the Invasion of Moscow. There it is above, in my rather murky reference photo.
As you can see, there are major factors in play at Arbatskaya, Oktyabrskaya, Taganskaya, Turgenevskya and Mayakovskaya, with others at Lubyanskaya and (of course) the Kremlin. I might swap out Mayakovskaya for Pushkinskaya, just because Pushkin Square is a meaningful place for young Muscovites. Then again, when Marianne and I stayed there, the statue of Mayakovsky was the landmark closest to our flat. Time will tell.
I'd say more, but it would give away some of the plot.
And the traditional "Godless Atheist Christmas Card" competition is shaping up strong . . .
Those who read this blog regularly (hi, Marianne!) will remember that in my household there's a yearly informal competition for the Seasons Greetings card that contains the absolute least amount of religious or sentimental content. The two front-runners so far, received yesterday, are:
A) A photo card from one of my sisters of her two near-grown children standing in a gift shop alongside an enormous stuffed bear. I'm not sure if the implied seasonal content is supposed to be the bear or the mercantilism.
B) Another photo card (!) of some dear friends standing at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets. Because nothing says Christmas like pretty colors, I suppose.
Who will win? I'll keep you posted!