Writing round-up, 2016: Six non-horrible things that happened this year

Writing round-up, 2016: Six non-horrible things that happened this year

I’m not really sure what to say about the year 2016. “At least we didn’t all die in a nuclear blast” is one good thing I could mention, I guess.

On a personal level, it was a year of disappointments and setbacks, fears and frustrations, but also the year in which I sat in a taxi coming back to Chelsea from Broadway after a dinner with great talents whom I also simply admire as people, and the very dear friend and great talent sitting next to me turned and said, “You’re doing it right, you know.” I surprised myself by believing her. There are people in my life who burn very brightly, you see, and I’ve learned to let their light in, and for that I am grateful.

In light of that, in light of them, here are the six things I definitely did right this year: Continue reading “Writing round-up, 2016: Six non-horrible things that happened this year”

Sixteen people to not hang out with in 2016

Sixteen people to not hang out with in 2016

Happy New Year!

I’ve been accused of being “too negative” around the blogosphere lately. “Cheer up, Natalia,” a bunch of you are saying. “Stop using indelicate words and hating on people quite as much.” I’m sure most of you have a point. But since none of you will read me if I’m going to go all zen and peace-love-and-incense-sticks on you this year (admit it. It’s true), here’s a definitive list of people you should resolve to avoid in 2016 (and all subsequent years too).  Continue reading “Sixteen people to not hang out with in 2016”

2010: the year that was

Well, it was a year in which my entire life changed. Again. It’s funny how that keeps happening.

I got a new job, moved to a new country, met a new guy, and decided to procreate with him. I wrote four short plays, one which turned out to be good, according to independent sources. I swam in a sea of stars, far out towards the horizon, something the person that I used to be could not have done. I’ve kept working on a novel. I lost two teeth, messed up my back, but, according to my resolution from last year, I did indeed stop pretending that everything’s Fucking Horrible. Everything’s fine.

My resolution for 2011 is to successfully give birth to a happy baby – and perhaps a couple of more plays. And finish the draft of that novel. It could be a good one. I’m in exactly the right spot in the world for the sort of story I am working on – a fantastical story, naturally. What other kind of story could a person like me conceivably write in Moscow?

Today, I watched both snow and sunlight fall on the earth as I made my way to work. I caught a ride with a chatty international student, who told me that my New Year’s resolution should actually involve buying a car. “Fancy people like you should have their own cars,” he summed up his case. “And it’s not like you need a Maybach.” I had no idea where he got the idea that I’m fancy – but it turned out that he liked my coat. The fiance had insisted that I buy this coat a few months ago, before I got pregnant. It really does have  fetching collar. At least I’m a stylish pregnant pukey lady.

Thanks to my friends and the readers of this blog, and the readers of this blog who happen to be friends. 2010 was a good year. See you on the other side, as always. 🙂

Vintage Soviet New Year cards

Scanned and provided to the general public by the lovely Marya Koshkina here and here. There were no official celebrations of Christmas in the USSR, of course. All of that energy was shifted to celebrating the New Year.

This has to be one of my favourites:

Because I was born in 1984, I was able to experience something of what this card portrays. And by that I mean that I got to watch other people drink Soviet Champagne.

Looking back at 2007: What have I achieved? Um…

Well, according to my resolutions… 

Never drink aga… Nah.

Yes, this one was a joke. I make funny. Ha ha. Yes.

Take full responsibility for personal finances, which include, but are not limited to, an enormous student debt, excessive food expenditures, and current lack of freelance jobs. No more waiting to be rescued by people who have no interest in rescuing me.

I’d say I did OK in this regard. Didn’t mean that I didn’t ask to be rescued at all. Thank you, Anna, for being my friend and saving my bum.

Do at least twenty freelance assignments each season.

Dismal failure in terms of quantity. But it’s the quality that counts. Right?… Right?

Finish the writing project I started. No more nancying about due “artistic insecurity” and other pointless crap. I am in charge of my own career. I and no other.

Big project remains unfinished, but lots of little ones have been polished off, and will be sent on their merry way into various slush-piles in 2008. So it’s not all as horrible as it may look.

Stop switching directions each time a new writing style beckons seductively.


Stop being so damn afraid of meeting new people. Case in point: Last night I was pretty much dead-set against going to the party with the actors: “Oh they won’t like me, oh I’ll have to impress them, oh it will be terrible.” I’ve had the best damn New Year’s Eve in the entire history of my pathetic little life, surrounded by strangers. If I had stayed within the safety net of people well-known to me, I would have watched cheap pop shows on the television and gone to bed, stuffed and stiff-jointed and bored, around 3 a.m. I have, as of now, seen the light.

I am now required to meet new people all the time. Score score score.

Smile each time the alarm wakes me up in the morning. Smile and say, “thank you, God, for allowing me to take a job which humbles me greatly.”

I switched jobs. The previous one did teach me a lot. You can’t argue with experience: good, bad, and in-between (and most of life’s experience seems to be in-between).

Never allow myself to run out of seamed stockings, or live without a good pair of pumps.

A dismal failure on that account. A travesty, really, because seamed stockings, especially when worn with very conservative clothes, make me happy. I did invest in a really good set of heated curlers, so HA! As for pumps, having been unable to find a good pair, I have consoled myself with all manner of jeweled flats. Will 2008 finally be the year for pumps? I think so, yes.

Take more walks.

A roaring success on that account. Spending months at a time in Kiev certainly helped, in that regard. Also, now that the weather in the Gulf is more or less normal, am succeeding rather nicely here too.

Learn to cook.

I am not yet a Cook, but have graduated to being the Cook’s Lovely Assistant. I know how to make mulled wine now too. Don’t laugh.

Be good. Be good. Be good.

I’ve been good 2/3’s of the time. Not a bad record, I would say. A record that stands to be improved in 2008, after all,

I am a Rat, and next year is My Year.

Hear me squeak!