Yes, it was a very interesting time to be in Moscow and Poland, the early 80s. I am supposed to be all tough and brawny, but I am not. I am not really too ashamed to admit that I am not the man of steel, especially since this is creative writing exercise is supposedly “anonymous”. I might even use my nom de plume, which more like a plain old nom and not much of a de plume. I mean, it doesn’t sound all secret and sexy (but, sexy isn’t really what I was going for, anyway). I have always kind of been interested in Russian stuff, be it modern or soviet history, ballet or opera, Tolstoy, Checkov, Tchaicovshy, Turgenev Catherine the Great or Ivan the Terrible. That time was; from the Soviet and east bloc student perspective, the early 80s, in East Europe and Russia was known as the brain drain, the emigration of human capital that we saw a lot of in post World War II, but was also very prevalent in East Germany and West Germany, and many of the bloc countries as “the Wall” came tumbling down. I could go on and on, but that would probably bore you to tears. I would have to say that a great passion of mine is all surrounding Russian history, and Romanticism, the stuff of tears. A Russian troika barreling across the Russian steppe, powered by some old gent, a Vronsky, or Seryozha. Lots of tears have been shed by many.
The shoes. The shoes that I picked up, I found on a Gloucester street. They were average woman’s shoes, pink, and sort of a dull pink. They had been well worn. “Well heeled,” you might say. The shoes had a character, a certain “je ne sais quois” all their own; as did the woman to whom I believed they had once belonged. The shoes; these woman’s shoes made me feel insignificant. These were simple shoes gave off a familiar, erudite sort of aura about them. These were shoes that nobody could throw away. If you have half a belief of karma, tossing these shoes would probably come back to bite you in your nether regions. I describe the shoes a bit more, but not so much as to bore my reader. I tell about the history of Gloucester and how these shoes were a part of that. Oh, the shoes belonged to an Italian- American woman. They were rather stylish, not that I am any kind of style critique. These stylish stilettos, “Made in Rome,” the label read, really looked more like they were a means of sentencing, punishing the bearer or wearer for some unspeakable crime she had committed Usually, running to catch a bus and getting the pumps caught in some cobblestone. These shoes were surely designed to torture; clicking and clacking, lions licking at their heels in some modern day amphitheater; a modern day Touropia or Colusseum. I only surmised that they were made by an immigrant woman, a well-heeled immigrant cobbler, worn by a woman who came to this fishing town and helped it become what it is today. These shoes; these simple, average, pink shoes had done more than their share of walking. They, deserved to be retired. Actually, they deserved a spot in some “shoe” hall of fame, if there is anything like that. I sort of feel silly, a grown man getting all worked up about a pairs of pink stilettos. No, I feel like a total riccione, which in Napoli is a little gayer than most parts of the country. I am not one of those guys who goes around wearing extra-tight Speedos, Just the idea of it makes me want to go out, lift weights, prove my manliness! (Whatever floats your boat?) Okay; forget the weights, they might actually sink the ship. I won’t want to wind up with a torn ACL because some Roman stilettos found their way to Gloucester. You see, for one reason or another I end up going a step too far; Not this time. I say a bit more, but not so much about the shoes. I tell about Gloucester and the “American Dream.” Later on, I talk about this woman. A woman, a Polish woman, who is also the American Dream. Maglosia…” Particulars, they will be left to the imagination. The carriage, the chariots piloted from distant stars and sometimes just from nearby shores. These things are my inspirations, a Polish woman with pink shoes, a carriage… Maglosia the muse. Maybe she is Helena or Penelope who sits in wait for Ulysses… I also speak of the brain drain that was so prominent in east bloc countries (particularly) Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany, and the Soviet Union to the US and M.I.T. and I continue there…you can tell what type of writing I most appreciate. Have you shed a tear, today?