The thought I woke up with


The morning I wrote this blog entry down, I woke up with a thought about myself, the exact words of which I cannot remember now.

The thought was something like this:

I have the soul of a heroine in a Russian novel.

That must mean I have a Russian soul.

Here's how the Russian writer Feodor Dostoevsky described the Russian soul:

"The most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything."

From the thought I awakened with, I realized that I had practically lived my youth in novels, and Russian novels, by and large, were my favorites. I lived in the agony. I identified with the tragic heroines.

Perhaps the lives of heroines in French novels were no less tragic, but I clung to Russian novels. Of course, my parents came from Russia.


Of course, I didn't actually lead the lives of these heroines. I never  went through the extremely hard survival times these novels were full of. I never jumped off a bridge, took to the streets in order to feed my family, etc., yet I  lived in the air of the novels I devoured. My whole psyche was into drama. Romances were supposed to end in tragic separation, weren't they? For a romance to be a romance, it had to be undone.  Certainly, the few romances in my life were big and overwhelming -- and misbegotten and never worked out.

It was even a simpler sentence the initial thought I had upon waking whose simplicity I cannot call to mind. (Good grief, I've started writing in the language structure of a Russian novel!)

Later in the day I awoke with that Russian soul thought, I remembered a high point in my life, the time I got an A+++ as a senior in high school on a book report of  The Brothers Karamazov by Feodor Dostoivsky. How I love those Russian names, how they slip off the tongue.

I know I've told of this before, bragged even, how the teacher wrote on my book report:

"You have, despite your youth, a dawning sense of the tragic sentiments of life."

Mr. Smith, the English teacher, also taught Spanish, so he actually wrote the tragic sentiments of life in Spanish -- los sentimientos trágicos de la vida.


At the time, I thought it was wonderful to have that dawning sense. Now I don't think it's so wonderful.

What is a dramatic novel but the pulling of tension? And in the novels I'm speaking of, although they may have been filled with dinner parties, the tragedies were not concerned with the success or failure of a dinner party but rather were filled with the  essential basic bare aspects of life. The titles even spoke the tragedies:  War and Peace,  The Possessed, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Notes from the Underground, Dead Souls, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Later, when I would read a Russian novel like Dr. Zhivago, tragic as it was,  it didn't begin to hit the depths of the other Russian novels I had read in my youth.

I wonder how different my life might have been had I never read Russian novels -- or novels altogether.

But soon after I awakened with the awareness about the slant of life I had come from, in an instant, I had the further thought that all I had to do was to change the orientation of my  thinking. This is not original, of course, for God in Heavenletters keeps saying that we have to change our thinking.

And, then, the miraculous thought dropped in that the backdrop of my thinking must already have changed!

How else then did such happiness from God come to me in Heavenletters™? How else then did I arrive in this paradise of South Africa with all the beautiful people here whose slant on life comes from joy?



The top two illustrations are from Saryan, Martiros) Drampian, Ruben

SARYAN. First Edition

Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1964


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Some years back my organic farmer one week in the spring provided a planting tray with various greens growing about an inch tall. I think his intention was to harvest from the tray for salad greens but I planted them all in the little garden outside my back door.

As it turned out I abandoned that garden in the middle of summer due to overwhelming circumstances and have never started it again. But those greens kept going thru the summer choked with weeds and parched. The last to survive was the Red Russian Kale and it kept going until it went to seed.

Amazingly enough the next summer there were Red Russian volunteers coming up and some of them had escaped outside the fence. They were entirely on their own and did quite well, providing salad greens and the occasional snack on passing by.

I think they are fourth generation now and still going strong. I don't do anything to help them and in fact forgot they were there and backed over them dumping a load of firewood with no apparent damage. The snow covers them up and when it melts, there they are. I did manage to save some seeds last fall and my plan if I ever manage to move out of here is to dig up the plants and take them with me.

Red Russian Kale!!!! I never even heard of it before! So, we have a Russian connection!

The Red Russian kale is sure hardy! It didn't just survive. It thrived!

When I think Russian, the image of unstoppable Red Russian Kale fits in perfectly with all the other associated ideas that come to mind like; strength, versatility, unyielding and Anna Kournikova.

What would life be without a good Russian novel? Maybe tragic novels are stepping stones and serve the same purpose that Rudolph Steiner saw in children reading original fairy tales - the release of something. And if that something is a little stuck, there's always vodka.

Well, yes, maybe, perhaps, there was value in absorbing the Russian novels. Anyway, what's done is done.

Now, Senor, as Creative Director and Technical Angel for Heavenletters, you must know that this is a non-drinking site, not even vodka. :)

P.S. Who is Anna Kournikova? Now, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy I know. All for love, she left her husband and child for another man, making herself a total outcast from society. Furthermore,her former husband did not allow her to see her little boy. And when her lover no longer adored her, she chose to leave this world.

Gloria, if you aren't going to allow vodka on the site, I doubt very much if you will allow Anna Kournikova either. She is an outwardly blonde Russian tennis star, now retired I think and living on her looks.

Red Russian Kale is from Siberia. I don't know if mine is something special or if it's all super-veggie. The seeds are small like poppy seeds. It seems capable of moving about one foot a year on its own but I imagine birds give it a good ride.

If civilization were to collapse, I imagine mine could make it to Fairfield in something like 10,000 years tho birds might cut that down to 1,000 or less. Crossing the Mississippi would probably give it pause but not for long.

Beloved Charles, do you think the little Red Russian Kale seeds can make their way to South Africa? How about crossing the ocean as the crow flies?

On second thought, this wonderful kale must require the cold of a Russian winter or Midswest USA.

More power to Ana Kournikova!

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