Belorusskaya Train Station is across the street from me as I write this. You know it; it was made famous in Dr Zhivago. I never pass it or stop in it without my mind seeing Lara and Yuri under the layers of fur in their dacha. As a kid I wondered how they slept under such weight but as an adult and romance novelist I think of other things now.
John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas” is on this Starbuck’s stereo. Yes, it’s January 12th—Christmas and New Year’s last longer in Russia thanks to the Gregorian calendar and Orthodox Tradition. I’m probably the oldest person here. Not the oldest looking, as the hard life that Moscow offers often prematurely ages folks and I’m always surprised to find out someone I think of as ten-to-fifteen years older than I is indeed the same age or younger. But chronologically I’m sure I’m one of the “senior” people here. Moscow is a young person’s town and it reflects in the clientele. There are of course the usual smattering of super-model-thin, tall, blonde girls. They are most certainly younger and better dressed than I am, even in the new sweater my dearest gave me for Christmas on December 25th, American-style. Yet I’m content, serene.
The skies are so bleak and the snow dirty and slushy. It’s a tough time of year when the sky is still pitch dark at 8 am and never quite gets bright with the nonexistent sun. All daylight is gone by 4pm or so, adding to the anxiety that I’m not getting enough done in a day. I make a cup of green coconut tea (another nice gift, this one from Sally) and I remind myself I still have 6-7 hours of the day left to be productive.
Ah, productive. That used to mean getting more and more things done, writing another chapter, revising another manuscript. Today it means I’ve completed my writing day and in the evenings I’ll enjoy my family as much as possible with two teens who lock themselves into homework after dinner. I may knit or play with our new puppy or play with my Weight Watcher points to see if I can fit in dark chocolate M&M’s or if an apple is a better choice tonight.
I’m learning that I’m most productive in the old sense and the new when I just am.