Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

I'm Back

It didn't turn out to  be as easy as I thought keeping up with the journal, or with Friends, as I thought it might be in Ukraine -- they are wired but not very Wi-Fi'ed as yet and making it to an Internet cafe (or IHTEPHET KOFE) wasn't so convenient. 

So thoughts and reports on the trip will accumulate here, but I can say definitely that it was quite wonderful, in large part because of the attentions and intelligent friendship of Mikhail (petro_gulak) and Ephraim, who showed us many corners of a city (Kyiv, as the best transcription now has it) which they obviously love deeply and also carry on a continual lover's argument with,  (They also carried on a continual argument between themselves, about literature, Ukrainian history and philology, the nature of things and other things, mostly conducted in Ukrainian).

I suppose I should first announce that I am the recipient of the first ever Bulgakov Award of PORTAL, the Ukrainian science fiction and fantasy convention/conference.  Bulgakov (raise your hand if you didn't know this) is Ukrainian, born and died in Kyiv, where a museum about him now occupies the house that was his childhood home and the place he died.  Though he wrote in Russian, and though his masterpiece The Master and Maragarita is set in a lovingly detailed Moscow, the Ukrainians consider him their own.  So do I, now.  The Bulgakov Award, in addition to being an honor, also consisted of an object -- a huge sculpture of a black cat (Behemoth, as readers of Bulgakov will remember), weighing at least ten pounds.  Great jokesters, these Ukrainians, as they have had to be, and funny certainly but bad to let their Visiting Author believe (even briefly) that he would have to wrestle this monstrous beast onto three different flights home.  Picture of self with Behemoth laughing hysterically (self; cat remains as always calm) will soon be posted.

And also I am putting together a Scrapbook Gallery of annotated pictures I took -- the first time I have travelled with a camera in years.  It's actually up now, but I will answer no questions about its strange contents.  Wait for the notes.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC)
I Can't Help But Wonder
How Kyiv compares with the Kyev of fifteen or twenty thousand years from now as described in Jack Vance's "Ecce And Old Earth".


Apr. 29th, 2007 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: I Can't Help But Wonder
Haven't read it, but I imagine Ukrainian SF fans must know it -- the history of waht SF has been translated into Russian (which all literate Ukrainians can read, it seems) is odd, because of the Soviet disregard of Geneva copyright agreements, then censorship, then entrepreneurship. A lot of old calssic stuff was printed without permission in the old days, maybe Vance among it.
Apr. 25th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
Glad you are back safe with warm memories and suitably enriched -- aesthetically, anyway. So you're the First Bulgakover! Congratulations. A major award could have no finer launch than to have you as its first recipient.

I cannot fathom how to access the Scrapbook Gallery. Any hints?

My copy of Endless Things came today -- god what a gorgeous book. It's so pretty I almost want to read it -- for the third time.
Apr. 25th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
congratulations, it's very well deserved. i love that it's a cat for the sculpture. very fitting all the way around.

also, have just brought home and begun "endless things". so wonderful that it's here, thank you as always for your marvelous work.
Apr. 25th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Welcome back! Have you seen the movie Everything is Illuminated? It's about an American tourist who travels to the Ukraine, and the conversations his guides conduct in English and Ukrainian are... quite something.

I keep feeling guilty about not having read the Bulgakov. I should really do that.
Apr. 29th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
Me likewise with the Foer. I'd forgotten it was Ukraine he goes to.
Apr. 25th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Welcome back! Summer came while you were away. Is there a link here to your photos I'm not seeing?
Apr. 25th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)

My maternal grandparents were from the Ukraine, though my grandfather's birthplace isn't in Ukraine but in Belarus.
Apr. 25th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
and in the author's attempts to wrestle the cat onto a plane, no doubt some flight attendant would wave her arms, as does that remarkable conductor when Behemoth tries to pay the tram fare, crying, "No cats allowed!"
Apr. 29th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: behemoth
Apr. 25th, 2007 06:15 am (UTC)
It was a treat to have you there.
Apr. 25th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)
Bulgakov! How great to win an award named after him.
Apr. 25th, 2007 06:46 am (UTC)
Apr. 25th, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)

I look forward to the pictures, imagining a Nabokovian mimetic puzzle: moth and Behemoth.

I am blissfully rereading the triune AEgypt, as a runner-up to Endless Things.

Apr. 25th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
Be he man or be he moth, I'll...
Apr. 25th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
Welcome back, and congratulations on your new cat!
Apr. 25th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
I've already told what I've got to say, so - just thank you!
Apr. 25th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
Nice you got home safe. It was great pleasure to see you in Kiev. And here is the picture where I was trying to take away Behemoth from you.

Apr. 26th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
That Is One Impressive Cat
Bulgakov's moved up my list.

And 'Endless Things' is Aegypt IV? Looks like I need to make a bookstore run.

Apr. 26th, 2007 11:18 am (UTC)
My order of "Endless Things" arrived today - wow it's gorgeous! Can't wait to read it. But I am working my way again through the first three volumes before I do, and am enjoying the trip all over again. Such beautiful prose, it's a joy to read.

AnneS (http://catpolitics.blogspot.com)
Apr. 27th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
Welcome back!
What a great picture of you wrestling for Behemoth!

Or is that Koroviev and Azazello?
Apr. 29th, 2007 12:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Welcome back!
That's Boris, of the Kyiv PORTAL conference organizing committee, who presented me with the award -- possibly having second thoughts about it, quite justly -- though Behemoth is a great inspirer of pointless conflict.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )