The Slavs, Tragically

 It seems idyllic

We are in Ljubljana today and tomorrow, 14 & 15 April 2014, passing through Slovenia on our way to six-months in Germany; it will be research, more or less,  for me, a pilgrimage, more or less, for Patrice.  Patrice’s mother lived her adolescence and teen-age years in  WWII Berlin; her father escaped Germany in 1938.

WWII Massacre, Bosnia

WWII Massacre, Bosnia

Crossroad Massacre, Istria

Crossroad Massacre, Istria

Until I revisit Suzdal, the Balkans provide sufficient sense of done to death by definition. I had described in an earlier post Balkan crossroads and town squares commemorating massacres.  One keeps stumbling over others. My grandparent, Francis Grivic and Frank Lavrich, two Slovenian peasants  immigrated to Joliet, Illinois, in 1905.  [Read more...]

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Leaving Rovinj

Departing Istria,  14 April 2014

Rovinj storm

Storm off Rovinj, Early April, 2014

Lonelytree

Lonely Tree

We are leaving the Istria Peninsula this week-end after a six-month stay. On the apartment floor is a mailing box, Hrvatska posta, Extra Large. We over-packed and are mailing things back to America before we leave for Germany.  Patrice is sending back a pair of stylish shoes; I am sending back the McIntosh Airport Time Capsule.   Dropbox, ICloud and Google Mail provide all the computer back-up we need (well, backing up IPhoto to Dropbox makes me nervous). Our fundamental requirement is high-speed internet. Our possessions fit into two large and one medium rolling suitcases.

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An EU Visa

So this redneck and Central European Jew get married…

Redneck RobertPatrice ElegantPatrice and I will spend the spring, summer and fall in Germany. We will require a long-term visa. Patrice anticipates the outcome darkly; I optimistically.

European Union visa rules interpret ‘foreigner’ with national, state and local variation. The European Union rule is thus: [Read more...]

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A Letter from Istria to an American Friend

 I apologize

Tom, I’ve reread this morning the article by Naomi Oreske’s et.al. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future that you’ve posted on your Facebook page some time ago. My initial opinion, that she misinterprets the evidence, stands. However, my initial response was ill-tempered and  snarky.  You noted:

coming from someone who spent his professional life in counterintelligence and who has since taken up fiction, I’m not sure what to make of your comment.

 I behaved as a Scheisskopf.  In so many ways I was wrong. Herewith is my critique of Ms. Oreske’s paper, but hopefully with better manners. [Read more...]

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Istria, February 2014, In the Morning

 Istria, February 2014

Grisia at night

Grisia St. at Night

In December and January, Rovinj sleeps.  The days are overcast and rainy. The streets are quiet and empty. On the rare sunny day (or hour), the cafes on the square fill, and when the sun disappears, so too do the natives.   On 1 February, one hardly notice a change.  A few tourists arrive––three buses the first week of Feb, four, the third week––and leave, but always, it seems, more.  There is some date on which everything must be in order.  [Read more...]

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Istria, January 2014

Bihac, Bosnia-Herzogovina

WWII Massacres, Bosnia

WWII Massacres, Bosnia

Last week Patrice and I went to Bihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina for our ninth wedding anniversary. Driving from Bihac to Velika Kladusia (border town between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) one encounters roadside memorials commemorating WWII tit-for-tat mass executions, chetniks and partisans, this village massacred in reprisal for that massacre, the memorials erected during the Communist era, thus those massacred by partisans as yet unacknowledged.  [Read more...]

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Istria, December 2013

Rovinj, December 2013

Harbor, Cathedral and Medieval Via Grisia

Harbor, Cathedral and street in the medieval city

Days this side of the Adriatic tend to be cool, but sun-drenched.  I understand  that Venice, directly west across the sea, is cloud-covered and rainy Nov-April.  Adriatic storms flood Rovinj’s main square now and then, but for the most part it is beautiful and charming and it seems as if it has been so forever. [Read more...]

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Thirteen Coats, A Translation (from Russian)

Thirteen Coats, A Translation

Thirteen Coats, A Translation

Serge Kotlar and I (Yay!, Merrill, Wisconsin) translated Thirteen Coats from Russian to English  as research for the next book in The Long War series,  The Executioner’s Son.  I read and speak Russian and have studied the country and its culture since my 17th year on earth. Although my academic background introduced me to the catastrophe that was Russia’s twentieth century, I am only now hearing the personal stories.  I  had observed Russia and Russians as though through reversed binoculars. [Read more...]

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The Executioner’s Son, Suzdal, NE Russia, early 1950s

Suzdahl, 1905

On a spring day in 1953 on Illian Meadow across the Kamenka River and beneath the walls of the Suzdahl Kremlin,  Danton Larionov, son of the NKVD executioner and a bully, spies the stranger, fourteen-year-old Ekaterina Soroka, daughter of the dancer and a storyteller.  He makes ready to rape her. She disarms him.

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Arriving in Rovinj, Croatia, November 2013,

Travel Notes

Rovinj, Croatia

Collage, Rovinj

Patrice and I have settled in  Rovinj, Croatia, until at least 15 April 2014.  The first apartment we rented (12th century plague house) did not meet our needs. Patrice found another apartment, which meets our needs in spades.

These travel notes is an experiment  with how to capture my impressions.   Patrice’s writes a blog which tends towards the day-to-day, while mine tends to organize (and flog) my fiction.  However, I want to record my travels, have never had a good memory, am meeting new people (who somewhat resemble the Central Europeans among whom I grew up), am visiting interesting places (which do not resemble northern Wisconsin) and  writing.  I want to capture impressions which I may use in my fiction.   [Read more...]

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