Let’s start with what you’ll find here…
Thoughts on memory—a lot—many personal, some general. Mostly with a literary or psychological bent, with history, politics, current events insinuating themselves too.
A channel is a tunnel, a passageway. It’s also a frequency—thoughts or events to be tuned in to, or to be tuned out. For me, memory is fascinating, the way some small event, thought, gesture or phrase from the past erupts into what we’re engaging in right now. Similarly, the way a large event—an amorphous, ever-spreading memory—can jump in and shape something in the present anew. (More on one of my own formative events—suicide—in a moment.)
Thoughts on writing, both fiction and memoir.
Thoughts on Russia, a country I spent less than six months in, but a place, people, that compelled me enough to lead me to learn the language, to study in Moscow…that compels me enough, even now, that it informs much of what I’m writing in the last few years. I’ve lost most of my Russian language abilities—rusty with disuse—and I have little time to properly follow Russian politics, but my Russian soul (the Russian word душа, dooshá, is so much fuller) lingers, embedded in who I am and what engages me. The novel I’m revising now—COUNTRIES OF LOST THINGS—dances with some of this infatuation, this Russian beauty and mystery.
Bosnia, too. The war there took place during my late college years and early adulthood. The senselessness of it, the tragedy of being bystanders to genocide in Europe (elsewhere too), again, left a profound effect. You may find some writings from a novel engaged with the Yugoslav war of the early 1990s—DOWN THE STREET A BUILDING BURNED—here later.
Motherhood…. I have two young children and, not surprisingly, almost everything I do (even a good portion of what I think!) is affected by them. Almost every day, I find myself reshaped by them—like challenging yoga poses, invigorating, exciting, immensely difficult at times too.
Ok, so, I warned you…suicide. My kids (family life), memory, coincidence, Eastern Europe, the shadow of the Holocaust, and suicide—the bundle of sticks I’m bringing to the bonfire (plus, surely, a few others).
My father, a professor, shot himself when I was twenty-three. It was not a surprise—it was a huge surprise! It was a shock that left me numb for several years (and that made me numb for years prior). The news—current events, literary events—touches on or announces suicide with more frequency (according to my radar anyway) than it used to. This is good. A silence, secrecy, too easily accrues to the word, to the act and its after-effects. This is a place where I’ll riff on my own thoughts about the subject—and I welcome perspectives from others out there, including, please, any interesting news or books I might be missing (remember, two small children! too little sleep!).
Finally, why on earth triple decaf? My daily addiction, indulgence, is a decaf cappuccino, three shots. It’s a relatively small thing, a punctuation mark of sorts, that gives me tremendous pleasure—both calms and activates me. The way a cigarette used to years (and years) ago. And it symbolizes for me two traits (neither of which I’m especially pleased about, but there they are, embedded)—caution and excess. Really, must I continue to drink decaf? I’ve finished my five-year-plus stint of attempted pregnancy, pregnancy, and breast feeding…. But I drink so much coffee (not just that cappuccino), that I can’t possibly go back to full caffeine. I would surely end up making mental charts of which cup should be the full joe and which water-processed out (or chlorine-processed or whatever horribly unhealthy chemical they use). Too much attention to beverages—and too much nervous energy. More energy I’d love (where, oh where…?!), but not the nervous, spiking up-and-down sort—so, caution (take a moment, think it over). And excess! Over-think, over-plan—striving to do more, better—jump on in…otherwise, how would we ever get anything done?!
Tune in for more….
Great blog, Kara. I look forward to checking in & drinking some virtual decaf with you!
Thanks, Laura! Glad you came by!
Kara, the website is so impressive and ambitious- rich- like cappuccino or Russia. It’s also a privilege to get to know you better via the venue. I’ll keep checking in!
Thanks, Rachel! And I need to keep better tabs on your blog too (rachelstolzman.com) – great site!
Welcome to the blogosphere, Kara! I really look forward to reading you. 😉 And lovely picture, too!
Thanks, Melissa! Great to have you coming by! I checked out your blog (thebookorbust.blogspot.com) – what an interesting idea!
Kara: I arrived at your blog via your comment at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/09/lives-cut-short-by-depression/. As soon as I glanced at the date you mentioned in your comment, I thought I knew who you were talking about. Your dad was a prof of mine. He struck me as quite a complicated person, and was not necessarily always easy for me to interact with. At the same time, he was generous with his time and feedback on my work for the one class I took with him, and I always appreciated that. I have a couple of books from the distribution of books to his students, and they still mean something to me. Belated condolences on your loss.