I can’t explain my weirdness but it makes life fun – for me anyway.
I grew up fascinated by a book Mum had on our bookshelves which I seem to recall was required reading for her training as a kindergarten teacher – Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”. I never did bring myself to read it but had always intended to.
Of course, I have also heard of other Russian literary giants like Pushkin, Chekhov, Gorky, Tolstoy… I even almost finished “War and Peace” twice. I can never get past the part when Tolstoy starts to lecture. Maybe we are too alike.
In Russia, I have learnt of other Russian writers. A traveller at the end of his journey in Vladivostok gave me “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov. This was also the favourite book of a lovely student working in the hostel in Tomsk, and of many apparently. Every Russian seems to have read Russian literature in school, is proud of it and has a preference. I think that’s awesome!
I have always secretly wanted to write and as a child filled boxes and boxes with short stories, poems and even attempted novels. So, for me, to wander the houses of these famous authors, or to visit places depicted in their classics, is pure heaven. I depart to another world.
To add to the fascination, many of these authors hung out together, used each other (and other contemporary famous people of the day) as the basis for characters and often had to be very subtle in their writing not to have their work banned or themselves exiled or jailed.
My journey in search of Dostoevsky and others has lead me to strange alleyways, homes, ponds, prison cells and cemetaries (in Moscow and St Petersburg).
It has opened up a whole world of reading and learning that I am dying to get lost in if only I can make the time.
It takes me to places that as a tourist I would not otherwise see and makes me feel like I know a place in a whole new way.
The other day I bought “The Idiot” in Russian. I have a dream….
I do wonder though if the book is about a want-to-be writer…