Relatives visited the farm. Outside, the temperature was -25F. High winds swirled snow devils NW>SW across the south field. We had returned from X-C skiing. He picked up a book on Soviet intelligence operations in mid-twentieth century America. [Read more…] about The liar speaks truth: Deception and working truth (7)
Facebook vs. the public toilet
Broadcasting one’s impassioned message was harder back in the old days. For most of us, the public restroom was enough. One found a pen, composed an impassioned plea, then sat with trousers at ankles, and scrawled on the wall. Further dissemination required moving to the next stall. You see the limitations, right? [Read more…] about liars and dupes: Deception and working truth (6)
Noble lie, big lie and the ’cause’
P.T. Barnum, were he our contemporary, might now say, There’s a true believer born every minute.
Nice people these true believers, our cousins, brothers, friends (plus that one gazing back at you from the mirror), with whom you wouldn’t refuse an espresso at Starbucks.
America, no less that Russia, has experienced its mass hysteria. Lies..the cause? Before we start, we’ll define terms. [Read more…] about Nobel Lies: Deception and working truth (5)
Believers and fools, liars and dupes
The Executioner’s Son
It is 1960. Two brothers, Russian Jews, meet in an abandoned warehouse in the Baumanskaya District of Moscow. It had been two decades since they had last seen one another. Blood under the bridge, my Irish niece might say.
Both had been Communist activists; Nicolai had been a shock troop leader of the “25,000’er’s”, Komsomol sent to the countryside to collectivize the peasants. The younger brother, Alexander, directed an actor troupe performing propaganda skits in an increasingly empty countryside. [Read more…] about Believers and fools: Deception and working truth (4)
March 14, 2015
Over the last several days the temperature has risen from -30F to +60F yesterday (well, +56F). Nice.
The snow this winter, three feet deep in parts of the tamarack plantation protected from wind, has melted to slush and water. I had cut trails (Tamarack branches are brittle at below zero and can be knocked off with a steel pipe; other evergreens have to be sawn).
I had discovered snowshoes this winter. My leg muscles recalled crossing these swamps one-half century ago, snow waist high, pulling a leg out only to plunge deep the next step, the boots filling with snow. Snowshoes. Wonderful. I’ve used cross-country skis for years, though this year high winds and heavy snows erased in hours strenuously broken trails. Now, in this morning’s dawn light, I see the snow remains only along the southern edge tree lines. [Read more…] about Winter to Spring, Northern Wisconsin
The Four Seasons
The second-floor window looks west over a moon-lit landscape, black forest the border to snow-swept fields intensifying the moon’s reflected light. Just above the SW horizon Mercury and Venus lie close. The nights have been clear and thus the snow fields make full moon last longer than its allotted week. [Read more…] about Winter night
Deception in Moscow, 1961
The ‘middle morass’ of The Executioner’s Son, that miserable time when, between the sparkling first scenes and a dramatic conclusion, you sit in that writing swamp struggling to “The End.”
A 1900 Russian short story, The Beacon, by Korolenko, comes to mind (Russian version here, English translation here). It is late Fall. A young man hires a boat, which conveys him in darkness along gloomy Siberian river. He spies a light and exclaims “We’re almost there!” The boatman glances over his shoulder and returns to rowing. “No,” he replies, “Long way off.” The young man, flabbergasted, philosophized, as Russians are wont to do. The beacon shines, seemingly near, now distant, always deceptive.
The novel’s eminence grise, Colonel Alexander Soroka, lectures on deception. I attend the lecture. Also in the auditorium is Danton Larionov, who wonders if this fierce Soroka is somehow related to the young beauty he met in Suzdal during that Spring 1953, the year Stalin died, Beria was executed and his father committed suicide. [Read more…] about Moscow: Deception and working truth 
Early morning, December 12, 2014: The Town of Russell school bus, a veritable light show of blinking and flashing amber and red and strobe lights, flies past in the pre-dawn darkness. The temperature hovers either side of freezing. The forest, gray and white save where for the spruce stand stark and black, is covered in hoarfrost, the fields in snow. I cross-country ski every day, the snow so right that it seems I fly over the fields. Deer and bobcat use my tracks to avoid deep snow.
Patrice and I are at the farm for at least the next year. Of late, the mornings have been fog-shrouded over one foot of snow. Beautiful.
I work every day on The Executioner’s Son. We are in 1960-62 post-Stalin Moscow. Lenin/Stalin’s genocide/democide and WWII is the near past. It is known well enough that some number of Soviet citizens perished, but the fault lies neither with Communism nor the Soviet people, but elsewhere. It was Fascism or the “Cult of Personality” or even ” ‘mistakes were made.’
The main characters witnessed mass murder, though none save one has murdered. Each has borne witness, and each will admit or deny what they have seen. The novel’s action takes place against a backdrop of deception: State-to-state, person-to-person and, self-deception. [Read more…] about Moscow 1962: Deception and working truth 
Define the word
I am writing a dramatic novel with the working title, Executioner’s Son.
Deception is the backdrop against which the characters act out their roles. The locations are three: Suzdal, Russia; Moscow, and Mariel, Cuba. It opens in Suzdal, a medieval Russian town, where those who survived the Mongol extermination of 1238 emerged from the forests and ravines to form modern Russian from under the ‘Mongol Yoke’. It is 1953. The Bolsheviks, Mongol-like, regained Russia to reimpose the “Mongol Yoke” while, Mongol-like, exterminating millions and enslaving the survivors. Suzdal’, once Russia’s spiritual center, has become prison in the Gulag system. The Bolsheviks exhort with slogans. “Building Socialism!” “Life’s becoming better, sweeter.” “Work makes you free.” [Read more…] about Deception and working truth (1)