Archive for December, 2008


December 10, 2008


Entry for December 10, 2008

December 10, 2008


The national media informed that the Ukrainian classical literature is going to be published also in the form of comics. This year seven such books have been published, next year there will be six. As it is explained, the new approach will be pursuing two objectives: a) protecting the publishing industry from the global crises and b) enhancing teenagers’ interest in classical literature.

I remember my former colleague, a professor in literature, teaching his 6-year old son to read books. The little Serhiy used to climb up the ladder that stood near the garden wall, perch himself on the top rung there and read another volume of an encyclopaedia – probably as heavy in weight as himself. “Let him get accustomed to serious books”, his Dad said. After his high school Serhiy was admitted to Moscow University, the most prestigious university in the country in those days.

As a professional, I may claim that the younger generation – being fed on video-games culture – has the dystrophy of “reading muscles”, and the comics, being used as a stopgag, are but a weak attempt to palliate the disease.

A linguistic note: for all the miserableness of the situation the publishers proved to be linguistically inventive. They titled their project “KLASNI KOMIKSY”. The word-combination is translated as “classroom comics”. At the same time it may be interpreted as “cool comics”. However, as for me, it is definitely opposed to the phrase “classical literature”.

Entry for December 10, 2008

December 10, 2008


While I was speaking with my daughter via skype this morning, she stopped hearing my voice. I began pulling the connecting cables, and eventually I took out the jack of the headphones wire and then plugged it back in. On the screen of the monitor there appeared a dialogue box with a question in Russian: “Are you sure you have made the right connection? – YES /NO.” I wasn’t sure of anything. Desperately, I made a click on YES. The audio communication between us returned to normal. It’s a great thing to be sure of the right decision made, isn’t it?

Entry for December 09, 2008

December 9, 2008


I used to drink from the coffee mug in the picture some thirty years ago when I was staying with an English family in Sheffield. Every morning I ate my favourite cornflakes with milk and toast, and drank coffee from this mug, which was “mine”. When I was already going back home, there were many small things which I had to leave behind because my baggage exceeded the weight limits set by the airline company. The coffee mug was among such things. However, Jeanette managed to squeeze the mug into one of my bags at the last moment – when I was standing in the doorway ready to go to the railway station. That’s how I came into possession of the mug and since 1978 it has enjoyed pride of place in the front room of our Ukrainian flat.

When my son visited Eric and Jeanette many years later, they passed some gifts for us. Among them there was a set of coasters. For some time the coasters had been lying in the sideboard until my wife said they could be made better use of, and suggested I take one of them for my coffee mug.

I took the advice but I COULD NOT stand the mug on the coaster. I was basking in the atmosphere of the picture on it: lush greenery, huge trees, a massive stone bridge over a small stream and a lady’s figure on the bridge (Catherine from the “Wuthering Heights”?)

That’s how they came to be placed next to each other on my desk: the coffee mug on a small plate instead of the coaster and the coaster itself — on the left.


December 7, 2008


December 7, 2008


December 7, 2008


December 7, 2008


December 7, 2008

Entry for December 07, 2008

December 7, 2008


The impression is it that it was happening decades ago. Now we are quite different: less enthusiastic, more sober, and … disappointed. Wasn’t it the same ninety years ago, when people, in their naivety, believed in red flags, liberty and great future for humankind? For all that, I treasure the Kyiv of those days: orange in colour, young at heart and hopeful of the time to come. What would be this life if there wasnt hope?

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