Month: August 2009

Where Am I This Time?

Thank God for our pets. They express what we often don’t–or won’t. While I was trying to stay positive and upbeat during our recent unpacking in our new home in Moscow, one of the kids snapped this photo our dog, Shadow. Shadow is a 10-yr-old black lab mix that we rescued in Memphis, TN when she was 7 weeks old. She’s lived in TN, Whidbey Island, WA, Italy, Belgium, Annapolis, MD and now Moscow!

Where's My Bed?
Where’s My Bed?
Shadow has had a longer adjustment this move. She rings a sleigh bell to go outside, and this usually takes just a few days to establish in the new home. This time it took her a month. Most likely it took this long because this is the first time we’ve lived in an apartment setting and can’t just open the back door to let her go in the yard. Or maybe she was p.o.’d at us for the 10 hour flight over–not as easy as the trip over the pond to Italy when she was only 4 yrs old.

I love this photo as it captures my sentiments on many writing days. While I usually know my characters, I don’t always know exactly where they’re going or what they’re up to in the current scene. I have to dig deep through the piles of emotions and back story and come up with what the heck they’re doing.

Not unlike unpacking–unwrapping sheet after sheet of finger-drying and -numbing paper, only to discover it contains the top of a sugar bowl I no longer have. It shattered in the last move.

But then I unpack a box and find the most beautiful skein of yarn that I forgot about after I bought it three years ago–a treasure.

I hope you find your treasure today.

Moscow is for Writers

I’ve lived in Russia for over a month. An entire month–longer than most vacations, shorter than any Navy deployment I ever completed. Yet I feel the hands of the Russian culture as they beckon me to explore.

Reminders of this nation’s culture and history are everywhere. From the statues throughout the city, to the breathtaking views along the Moscow River, to the varied architecture, it’s obvious this is not a young country by any means. Moscow was founded in the middle of the 12th century. Keeps my own years in perspective–I’m still young!


What’s impressed me most is the constant flow of ideas for my writing. Whether I’m looking at a statue of Pushkin on the Old Arbat or watching folks sunbathe in Gorky park as I float down the river on a city cruise, ideas and themes abound.

I had an opportunity to visit Tolstoy’s estate, approximately 3.5 hours south of Moscow. Used to these types of bus tours, I packed appropriately. Knitting helps writing ideas come to mind, and I have a notebook with me  at all times.

The bus ride was bumpy and seemed endless at times, until we wound through the town of Tyla and then into Tolstoy’s estate grounds.

The Road to Tolstoy's EstateThe view as we started our walk is one I’ll always treasure and associate with Russia. The birch-lined road felt more like a cathedral as the sun filtered through the tallest boughs. The white bark contrasted with the lush greenery and it was clear this was a place of respite and serenity.

From the cafe-laden streets of Moscow to the majesty of one of Russia’s, and the world’s, greatest author’s home, I daresay this is a place for writers.