I am working furiously

Hope you come see the fruits of my labours once I am ready to rest on my laurels for a bit.

Until then,

Here’s Chekhov, whose short stories are better than his plays:


Very few people know, by the way, that Chekhov had beautiful hands. Why isn’t there at least one dinky paper with this title presented at a single Chekhov conference? “Chekhov Had Beautiful Hands.” I guarantee that people will read such a paper. Even some plebeians otherwise referred to as non-academics will read… Or, then again, is that the problem all along?!

33 thoughts on “I am working furiously

  1. And Natalia Antonova has beautiful eyes. But very many people know that.

    The effect is not the same.

  2. Natalia Antonova said: “… the effect is quite startling …”

    So is the effect of Natalia’s post titled “Love Letters, Part Three.” In the current post, titled “I am working furiously,” Natalia objectifies Chekhov’s hands, and then turns around and verbally whacks D.D. for objectifying Natalia. Natalia has the right to objectify anything (or anyone) she wants and at the same time turn around and whack anyone she wants for objectifying her. But it makes for weird reading. Natalia, like any other blog-owner, is not required to satisfy any reader’s notions of consistency (especially any male reader). Since Natalia owns the blog, she has the right to publish anything she wants and also to respond any way she wants to any reader’s response. But it makes for almost hilarious reading.

  3. Sweetheart, if DD wasn’t a fetishist asshole half the time – I really wouldn’t mind. I gave you the example of David Tennant – and if you don’t get it, it’s not really my problem at this point. But you keep on truckin’.

  4. I am sorry to disappoint, but Natalia was right to respond the way she did. She read between the lines, and read correctly.

    Anton Chekhov’s good looks were not a hindrance to his career as a writer, but I believe that Natalia’s looks will be. It is hard for me to take attractive women seriously, and I am not alone in this. I understand that there are exceptions but they are few.

    This is why I have recommended that Natalia convert to Islam and veil her face. Not only will her eyes no longer be a problem, but she will also have a niche. This was a facetious suggestion, of course.

    I am, as Natalia colorfully said, an asshole. But it is assholes like me that rule this world. I have been honest with Natalia about my suspicions in regards to Ali Eteraz, a writer who tries to make Natalia believe that he appreciates her writing. Add to that list the various lesbians who I believe are also duping Natalia.

    I am not saying these people are monsters. They are doing what is natural.

    Change is possible, but how? I have no answers.

  5. D.D. probably wasn’t looking for a response to the points he has just made, but he needs to be better informed in regard to some assumptions he has made about life in the U.S. and about Natalia as a writer.

    D.D. said: “… Chekhov’s good looks were not a hindrance to his career … but I believe that Natalia’s looks will be.” In the U.S., Natalia’s looks will be no hindrance whatsoever. She will succeed or not succeed on the merits of her writing alone. Americans, both readers and publishers, are somewhat less affected by the preconceptions about women, including good-looking women, that exist elsewhere in the world. Otherwise Hillary Clinton would not be a serious candidate for the U.S. Presidency, and American women would not have achieved such outstanding success in fields like law, medicine, and literature, to the point that, in the U.S., over half of enrolled law students (I think) are now women, and women increasingly make up the legal practitioners in law firms. The same can be said for medicine in the U.S.

    D.D. also said: “Ali Eteraz … [and] … the various lesbians who I believe are … duping Natalia.” D.D. must not have read many of Natalia’s recent posts or any of her posts in her archives. From what I have read of Natalia’s recent posts and also excerpts from her archives, my guess is that Natalia is not someone who can be “duped.” My suspicion is that Natalia is the reverse of naive about human psychology and especially about male psychology, and she is completely alert to any efforts to manipulate her and is probably used to deflecting them. As for “lesbians” duping Natalia, it is safe to say that Natalia is better acquainted with what can be called real life than many of her male critics. So she is not likely to be duped by anyone.

    Finally, D.D., it is important, on this blog, to resist the impulse to respond to Natalia on a personal level. It is a completely normal impulse and I have blundered into doing that myself, although I hope that recently I’ve responded on a more mature level. At any rate, male critics have to remain self-aware and keep their purely personal responses on a leash if their criticism of Natalia as a writer is going to be of any use to her. It is not enough simply to be part of an echo chamber applauding Natalia’s success as a writer; she also has to know what she’s doing wrong. Otherwise she won’t learn anything as a writer and neither will anyone else. If you can keep your feelings on a leash, D.D., your criticism can be of real help to Natalia. Otherwise she’ll simply regard you as an unwanted nuisance, and she’ll be right.

  6. Personally, I’d be intrigued by any title which referenced beautiful hands, but doubly so if it was in contrast with tales like The Handless Maiden or somesuch.

    I’ve not read Chekhov, though. I was seduced by Dostoevsky and haven’t gone much further.

  7. I am an American, James. I know the intricacies of the writing world. Every critic will be after Natalia’s head.

    You have chided her for responding harshly to my comments, but you do not see that what I say is very different from what Natalia says. She knows this. It is an uphill battle for her not the least of it having to do with men like me, who think the way we do.

  8. I was going to add that it is fairly obvious what Eteraz, the lesbians, and even the men who visit this site pretending to be “feminists” want from Natalia. She does not see this. Not yet.

  9. This is just to respond very quickly to D.D.’s comment dated November 16 at 10:45 p.m.

    Speaking only for myself, I have never pretended to be a feminist. I don’t even know what “feminism” is. When you say that “it is fairly obvious what Eteraz [et al.] … want from Natalia” and that “She does not see this. Not yet.” — one can only respond that Natalia understands all too well what is going on on this blog and she knows perfectly well how to protect herself. Natalia is not a naif. Judging from her recent posts and also from excerpts from her archives, Natalia is completely at home in keeping herself safe from manipulation on the Internet. It is an unfortunate fact that Natalia has had the reverse of a sheltered life and she has learned all too painfully well how to detect unwanted advances and how to ward them off. At least so far as I can tell, Natalia does not need advice on protecting herself on the Internet. On the other hand, I’ll take your word for it that you “know the intricacies of the writing world,” which I do not, and that “Every critic will be after Natalia’s head.” Nonetheless, Natalia already has had long, painful training in dealing with the world, and even if it will be an uphill battle for her, I suspect that she’s more than equal to it already. Her need now, as I see it, is to hone her writing skills. I hope to be able to help with that and also learn while I do so.

    It is interesting to learn that you are familiar with the industry of writing in the U.S. Your comments should be instructive.

  10. Chekhov did have beautiful hands, and I’m a sucker for beautiful hands on members of either gender.

    I also take attractive (define “attractive”?) women seriously if they are serious, which Natalia is.

    DD, you are not serious. You are just a jackass, and a boring one, too. When you make that cup of coffee, I hope you accidentally spill it on your crotch.

  11. Dear People Unclear On The Concept:

    D.D. is not a creep because he complimented NA’s eyes. D.D. is a creep because he has -already- established himself as a creep, via making -seriously- invasive suggestions in his inimitable pasive-aggressive blend of oozy overdoing it-creepy-uncle-flirty, hostile, and self-pitying, and this just fits right in with the M.O. of established creepiness. Someone who was such a person who complimented NA’s eyes in another context would probably not be called a creep.

  12. I never liked Chekhov’s plays until I took an acting class in university with a teacher who specialized in Chekhov. The thing is, he’s actually really funny; but most people kind of arse up the productions by making it Serious Art. anyway, it really came alive for me in there…

  13. oh D.D.! Yes, it’s the predatory lesbians and the scary Arabs who want in Natalia’s pants. Everyone but, oh, say, you?

    p.s. i wield a mean icepick, too.

  14. >Personally, I’d be intrigued by any title which referenced beautiful hands, but doubly so if it was in contrast with tales like The Handless Maiden or somesuch.>

    you know Margaret Atwood is fascinated with that story in particular, right?

  15. Belledame said: “Dear People Unclear …” etc.

    If that’s the case, then Natalia ought to ban him.

  16. >I am, as Natalia colorfully said, an asshole. But it is assholes like me that rule this world.>

    oh, MARY.

    well, 1) to the extent that it’s true, all the more imperative to revile and fight them, because they’re fucking things up 2) it may be assholes -like- you, but it still isn’t -you-; sort of in the same way that Norman Bates does not, in fact, run the world.

  17. Belledame said: “… As is whether or not she wants editing suggestions, and from whom.”

    If Natalia doesn’t want editing suggestions, then she shouldn’t put her work online in a blog open to the public (subject to prior moderation).

  18. Speaking as a predatory lesbian, putting stuff on an open blog doesn’t mean you want editing suggestions (and if you get them, it doesn’t mean you have to acknowledge them).

    It is true that putting stuff up on a blog opens it for as much comment as you’re willing to allow, but it’s not an excuse to be creepy about it.

  19. Lisa Harney said: ” … putting stuff on an open blog doesn’t mean you want editing suggestions (and … it doesn’t mean you have to acknowledge them).”

    I’ll keep that in mind, and I hope I haven’t gone overboard in my prior criticism of Natalia. I don’t want to criticize just for the sake of criticizing. I assumed that when Natalia publishes her work online, it’s because she wants reader feedback that’s candid but still civil, respectful, and appreciative. But I never assumed that Natalia had to acknowledge anything at all; I assumed she was free to reject anything I said, just as every writer is. Still, from now on, I’ll remember that Natalia might not actually want criticism at all, and I’ll frame my remarks accordingly.

    Lisa Harney also said: “… it’s not an excuse to be creepy about it.”

    I swear I hope my comments on this blog haven’t been creepy. I use what I realize is a pompous, inflated style partly to ratchet down my own emotional level but also to make clear in an unemotional way, to D.D., that Natalia does not need guidance on how protect herself on the Internet or on how to deal with male critics. It could be that I’ve completely misread D.D.’s motives on this blog. I’m still new to reading and posting on blogs, so if D.D. actually is a creep, that’s the first time I’ve been made aware of one. And if someone thinks I’m being creepy, they ought to tell me.

    Note to Belledame: I wasn’t rejecting your own comments outright; I just thought you were being overprotective of Natalia. When Lisa Harney seconded your point, then I started thinking. I’ll keep both of your comments in mind if I ever plan to criticize Natalia’s writing again.

  20. Natalia: Fyodor is like an existential pimp, I swear. I adore him.

    If Chekov is funny I might check him out. Once I figured out that Socrates is a snarky ass, I liked him ever so much more. It’s what I like about Austin and Wilde, too.

    I didn’t know about Atwood and The Handless Maiden, but based on her stories it makes sense. A lot of her female protagonists are handless, in one way or another. I like it some times; other times it gnaws at me the way Le Guin’s handling of women in Tehanu does. On the one hand – yay, women as major players! On the other hand, why do they seem so impotent and helpless?

    I finally read The Left Hand of Darkness and really want to find the edition where the pronouns used are female. It read to me interestingly, but as yet another story of Men Doing Interesting Things, and I’m rather sick of Men Doing Interesting Things. These days I’m leaning much more toward Women Doing Interesting Things.

  21. Deoridhe: it’s easy to miss the funny unless you see it played out by the right people. In general though reading plays isn’t like seeing them; it’s like seeing a blueprint, more or less.

  22. …most people kind of arse up the productions by making it Serious Art.

    *ding ding ding*

    Chekhov came from a comparatively rough background, and he made fun of rich people. A lot. He still had some compassion for them, but he was also very wry, and people, for whatever reason, assume that because it’s Russian – it must be solely about despair and the wretchedness of teh human condishun.

    Deoridhe, I’ve always thought that large chunks of Dostoevsky read better in English. I don’t know why – a string of great translations, or maybe because there is something about his style of writing (Dostoevsky didn’t much care for style at all, actually and Nabokov heavily criticized his writing for this in the 20th century) that just lends itself to this particular language more. Well, aside from all the colloquialisms, that is. 😉

    I think this may be the reason why Dostoevsky is so popular in the West, while Chekhov is only really known for his plays (a travesty, in my opinion, since I agree with Bunin that the short stories are just so, SO much better) – an issue of translation.

  23. Belle: Vehy, vehy true. I’ve always vastly preferred Hamlet as acted, though I tend to reread the soliloquies as poetry. I think it’s humor that hides the most easily, too – I can never cope with reading comedies unless Wilde wrote them, and then I just know they’re even more delightful acted.

    Natalia: Maybe someday I’ll learn more than fangirl Russian and be able to say, but what really got me about him was his depictions of the human mind – in Crime and Punishment certainly, but it was The Idiot I really enjoyed. Translation is huge, though. We read Freud this year in classes, and the people who translated him tried to make him obtuse; it makes it really difficult to slough through the mess and try to get to the ideas behind it.

    I’ll have to check Chekhov’s short stories out, though, since they come so highly recommended. Once I finish writing my papers. T___T

  24. Shall I call you Natalia or Lush these days? Either way, I’ve enjoyed the stories you’ve put up so far (apologies for not commenting) and look forward to seeing the New Thing you are working on.

    Also, I’m sorry you have idiots debating whether and why you get to post stuff on your own blog here (in the third person, no less). That must suck.

    Anyway, late to the party here, so I’ll be quiet now 🙂

  25. Much bigger fan of Chekhov than of Dostoevsky. They’ve come out with collected works of his short stories which I love.

    For the record, D.D., while institutionally it may be true that being a woman and being attractive may present some obstacles in her career, in what way will it be helpful for her to dwell on it? Stop trying to put a chip on her shoulder. The condescending crap you post on here is clearly not helpful. While you’re obviously impressed with yourself and your intricate knowledge of the world, I’m not. Go blow some hot air up your ass elsewhere.

    Btw, not a lesbian or an Arab and Natalia still rocks my world.

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