Thursday, August 25, 2005

dusa manna istina

These were the words I considered first as blog names until looking over at my sleeping dog hana, the real name came. This picture is of hana as a puppy, she is much bigger now but still sleeps the same way.

Dusa and istina are Russian words having to do with spirit and the soul. Dusa is described by one book I read as "an internal theater where a person's moral and emotional life is staged". Istina has to do with spiritual values. Two Russian words for someone who is not Russian, though who knows. My father's origins are only traceable a generation or two.

I have been drawn to things Russian all my life. I wrote a play about the Russian writer Turgenev. I am writing a novel set in St. Petersburg. I have said that I have a Russian soul, a Russian dream. I have a dream of rushing through long open snowy countryside in a troika, bells ringing. Hana likely dreams of snow. She was born in winter and spends the many months of our snow-bound year here in the countryside where we live leaping in ecstasy between white hills.
Manna, the bread of life. Belonging also to the spirit world, possession of all cultures, all religions. Basic manna, basic food, food for thought.
Welcome to my blog.
Day 1. And hana is still napping. Though now her feet are still, her body resting.


Darlene said...

So glad I stumbled onto your site. I love your descriptive writing: "...a dream of rushing through long open snowy countryside in a troika, bells ringing;" how Hana likely dreams of snow, and how she "spends the many months of our snow-bound year here in the countryside where we live leaping in ecstasy between white hills." For me, your site, like manna, is food for thought.

Under your favorite movies, you have "The Red Balloon." Ah, what fond memories that brings...a true classic. Have you seen the Secret of Roan Innish or Whale Rider? I think you'd find these appealing.

Just wondering, do you have any interest in the complex Anton Chekhov? (i.e. The Seagull) Supposedly Americans don't understand that his works are supposed to be humorous, and reflect the Russian spirit. For Russians, plays are a political vent for them, a way to voice their opinions on life. And from what I understand, tragedy or hard times are considered just a part of life; at least you're alive.

After studying theater at a conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia for four months, my daughter went back to Russia and lived in Moscow for half a year. The people there were so giving. For example, she met an elderly couple at a park and they invited her--a complete stranger--to their home, where they ate and chatted for hours. She has a lot of similar fond memories.

What breed is Hana? She looks so loveable. My grandfather used to speak a tad of Russian. I think a dog was a "hint." I'm not sure of the spelling, but that's how it was pronounced. Also, nie platy (sp.?) meant new dress.

Sherry Coman said...

Hello Darlene - thanks so much for responding - you're my first response on the first post of my first blog ever. And thanks for the kind words about the writing. Your site is quite incredible - I had actually already been there when blogger listed it as a blog of note. I am wondering if you have since seen my other post about movies. (I will likely do another tonight or tomorrow.)
Glad you love The Red Balloon - I have seen Whale Rider but not Roan Inish. Niki Caro (Whale Rider) has another film in this year's Toronto film festival. What I love about The Red Balloon is its unabashed sweeping romanticism of the loneliness of a child. It also portrays magic and cruelty as equally real, which is why that ending is so transcendent!
Hana is a golden doodle - that's a purebred standard poodle/retriever cross. She is now almost two years old. I am going to continue to post pix of her sleeping positions, and hopefully one of her active dreaming. I keep trying to capture that.
Is your daughter still working in theatre? Most of my professional life as a writer has been as a playwright. I would be very interested to hear her impressions of St. Petersburg in terms of every day life away from the tourist elements.
You and I share similar lives in that I too have a novel I am flogging to an agent. It has had some publishing attention and feedback that is generally encouraging but to secure the end run I feel the agent will be essential.
I loved that 'hint' is dog in Russian. Spasibo, for writing in.

Darlene said...

Wow, you make me feel honored--thank you! I have to extend a hearty welcome to you. Also, I'll have to do a more in-depth check on your post on movies.

You absolutely have to see The Secret of Roan Inish (a John Sayles film), the mysticism, the wanting to believe... please do.

I saw the poodle in Hana, yet she didn't truly look like that explains it, and the coloration. Never heard of her combination. Must have an interesting personality, with her combination of genes. They say that golden retrievers are kids for life. I look forward to seeing more of her.

In a way it sounds as if Hana gave you the inspiration to start your site. My cat Misty (now deceased) gave me the inspiration for my novel... the clarity I needed to decide where I wanted the book to go. I know it sounds weird, but... Despite all the writing I've done, it's impossible to put the experience into words.

I think my daughter's drifting away from theater. When she was in New York, she even worked at New Dramatists, and helped choose plays for acceptance, but she has so many interests. She works for a theater now, in their corporate sector, but took several months off to backpack, stay at hostels, etc., in South America; coming back in Sept. For sure I'll have to show her your site. She'd love to share her insight with you on St. Petersburg.

Ahhh, horror of horrors, that dreaded query letter to entice an agent enough to want to see sample chapters. That's my pitfall!

As soon as I get a chance, I'll have to send some of my "friends" over to your site. They'll love your insight on life as much as I do. Keep up the good work, and keep your dreams alive!

Sherry Coman said...

Hey Darlene, thanks so much for the warm words. I have had some other feedback too which is always great. I enjoyed hearing from you again.
I do love Anton Chekhov - and I do think of them as essentially comedies in the wonderful Renaissance meaning of that word which is 'celebratory'. I agree with you completely about the perspective on Russian theatre - it is indeed a place to express the soul to others in the community quite uniquely from literature.
Your daughter's life also sounds interesting - and accomplished!
hana appreciates the compliments - in fact her colouring is quite distince - her apricot standard poodle father colouring is on the majority of her body, but her head, neck and paws are all the deeper butterscotch of her retriever mother. We met both parent dogs and saw the colouring for ourselves. She was also the last pup of her mother who had been bred a number of times.
Thanks for referring friends to the site -- much appreciated!
Keep up the great work on your own site too!