Incognito Press

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Archive for July, 2008

Back from Humber

Posted by E on July 18, 2008

I can hardly keep my eyes open and it was an absolutely exhausting week – I will write a lot more tomorrow when the dust has settled – but I am finally back home, and I kid you not, it felt like it’s been a month. Honestly. There was so much information to be processed, that you unavoidably end up walking away in an excited but also contemplative mood, with more than enough food for thought. Although I do have to confess that I teared up a bit at the end – I will miss the exhilaration of the Assembly Hall lectures and the amazing creativity sustained in Richard’s classes, and there are quite a few people I intend to keep in touch with, because it would be a shame to lose contact with other people who share this passion for the written word.

I do hope that everyone keeps their promise to email and get together again, because our craft is such a solitary one, that some days you can feel like you are going crazy and nobody understands the feeling you have when you want so desperately to create, to mould something with your words and breathe life into it. And it is true – it’s such a lonely profession, one where you sit nose to nose with your computer screen, day in and day out, and so many times it feels like nobody else understands why on earth you would be so determined to keep at this instead of getting a well-paying job and moving on with your life. (Oh, and for those of you with well-paying jobs – you’re buying me lunch!)

So to all of you people from Humber to whom I handed my business cards (shameless self-promotion, indeed) and who found yourselves lured to my site by promises of scandalous musings – do try to get some rest this weekend, get some rejuvenation happening, and then good luck with all of your zealous writing pursuits!

Tomorrow I will write more to recap the final days at Humber.  Also, I’ll probably post some photos, though I didn’t take nearly enough. To all of you who I promised a photo – you know who you are – I will be emailing them out tomorrow as well, as soon as I download them from my camera.

Sleep well everyone! 🙂

Posted in writer, writing | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Blowing the dust off our Securitate dossiers

Posted by E on July 8, 2008

This year I am applying to several grants for the book I am working on – a lot of it will be about Romania before the fall of communism, and it will weave together the story of my family and many other stories that need to be told in order to preserve the historical value and integrity of that time – and preservation of history in any form is one of the biggest reasons I write, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

Anyhow, given the number of grant requests I am putting in and the strength of the project itself, I feel confident that something will break through. So I am beginning to make inquiries into sending a representative to CNSAS in order to petition for the release of the files (since I’m in Canada). I will go down there when they are ready to release the documents, and put the finishing touches on the book in the place where it all began: Bucharest.

The files are bound to be extensive: I remember being followed from school to playground to our apartment, and people with bags of candy approaching me in the park and asking questions about my parents. I remember the policemen always hovering around the downstairs door, and our friends, relatives, aquaintances and even teachers telling us of how Securitate men showed up at their doors and pressured them for information. 

My father had a history of making comments against the state, and my mother sought political asylum in Italy in 1985. Father & I were followed and scrutinized for 2 years until we were given exit visas under the Red Cross Family Reunification Program, in 1987 – 2 years before the Revolution.

I welcome any comments from anyone else who has personally, or knows of someone else, who has gained access to their Securitate dossiers. I know the files can take up to a year to be released. How long did it take in your case? And were there blacked-out parts, or did you get the names of the Securitate officers who were assigned to the case? I know as of Feb2008, they cannot be prosecuted anymore, but that would not be my intent, anyway – I just want to know all that happened, what was said about us, and what kind of information they have on my parents. So – how long is the process? And what was the cost? If you have a lawyer/notary you can recommend, I’d really appreciate it.

Please feel free to respond here or email me privately – I understand Romanian perfectly (only bad at writing it), so you can contact me in either language.

Posted in censorship, communism, politics, revolution, romania, securitate, writer | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Renouncing Motherhood

Posted by E on July 2, 2008

I don’t want to worry after a child. I can’t imagine what it would be to experience the uncertainty I have seen in mothers’ eyes when they look out the window and see their baby crossing the street and disappearing into an uncertain future filled with other anonymous people who don’t have the same tenderness, the same cherish, the same endless adoration for the one you love.

I don’t want to feel the trepidation of watching the one you have cradled in your arms and fed at your breast, as he or she stumbles away from you, away, away, falling and crying but always moving further out of range, propelled by an inexplicable forward motion into the distant unknown, propelled by a bottomless ache for exploration that stabs you through the soul.

I don’t want to bear the weight of my grandmother’s fears, as she looked out the same window so many other women before and after her have stood at, arms tucked like prayers in the hollows of elbows, holding themselves tightly, trying to abate the cold that seeps in – the cold of What If? Will he be safe? Will my boy come home tonight?

I don’t want to be my mother standing in that window, on that grey concrete balcony of hers, stubbornly ignoring my furious waving for her to go back inside. I don’t want my eyes to carry like hers do, at the back of my head, so heavy with regrets – regrets of abandonment, of hurting me, regrets of a wretched life that vibrates like a shout in the air between us. But her eyes, nonetheless, full of regrets as they are, plead after me in the road until I am swallowed up by the urban concreteness of the city, and they can no longer follow the shrinking pinprick of my outline.

I don’t want to carry that worry inside me like a shadow infant, a twin of the one who has been born and tears away from you. After a physical birth, a secret pregnancy continues, an afterbirth that you carry in your spirit forever. Even as your baby turns into a toddler, then a youth and finally an adult who goes to school in another city or perhaps gets a job in another country, the twin thrives, sucking from your marrow, clawing through your heart, becoming the pulse in your veins and the throb in your gut.

I don’t want that. I don’t want to bear the pain of creating something as fragile as a human being only to watch him or her slip away from me, while I die a little every day inside. I don’t want to tell her of all my past hurts and all the hurts and demons of her grandmothers and the great-grandmothers before that. I don’t want her to inherit the suffering of her forefathers, the ache of a wounded country, the knowledge of having inherited her flesh from generations of women bloodied by revolutions and wretched men and abandonment and despair.

I think it is more merciful to murder the idea of an infant before it hatches into something more. To hurl that idea as far away as I can, to hurl it like a rock into an abyss of oblivion, to get it far away from me, away, away, away.

(written today, on the occasion of my mother’s birthday)

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Posted in children, family, freedom, mother, personal, pregnancy, thoughts, women | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

My take on the Schapelle Corby case – the brothers did it

Posted by E on July 1, 2008

All day yesterday I waited with anticipation for a documentary that would air on the Movie Network later in the evening: Ganja Queen – the Schapelle Corby story.
In preparation, I looked her up on Google and caught up on the details of the case: in 2004, an Australian girl in her late twenties is caught in a Bali airport transporting a boogie board filled with ten pounds of marijuana. After several trials, the supreme court of Bali last year upholds the original verdict: twenty years in prison (with about a year taken off for time served). By the time the documentary aired, I had a prima facie assumption of guilt. And then I watched an hour and a half of a completely, fully-biased, pro-Schapelle film.

Ok, so after weighing both sides, this is what my gut tells me: the brothers, particularly the younger one, who was seventeen at the time, planted the pot in her bag. Upon doing some more research, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one to think so – Corby’s very own ex-defence lawyer, Robin Tampoe, appeared in another documentary, which aired in Australia just this past week – and what did he say?

“Look at the brothers. Just look at her brothers. […] These are the biggest pile of trash I have ever come across in my life. I have never seen a more ungrateful, nasty piece of work than this woman (Corby’s mother, Rosleigh Rose) and this family.”

It seems to me that, while coming off at points as a teensy-bit arrogant, Schapelle wasn’t stupid enough to fill up her own bag with the largest quantity of dope Bali has ever seen. However, her younger half-brother did have access to the bag, and carried it for sometime the very day of the arrest. Also, while she was tested for drugs and was cleared, nobody bothered to test this brother, and lo and behold, a year later, a police raid of his house turns up copious amounts of pot and he is charged (get this!) not only with drug possession in large quantities, but also beating up two known drug dealers.
His defense – uh, I was just beating them up to get them to, you know, tell me who framed my sister.
Hmmm – I suppose this is why he stored their dope in his own house also?…ya right.

Watching her family on television, I was struck at how perfectly, how utterly and fantastically perfectly they fit the “White Trash” mold. If there was ever a family in which a set of brothers would let their sister rot in jail for them, thinking “Well, she’s a girl, so she’s getting off easier than we would…only twenty years ain’t so bad”, this would be them.

Only two questions remain:
1. DID she know that her brothers were involved?
AND
2. What other stupid moron would ever attempt to smuggle drugs in southeast Asia (a continent where drug-smuggling can be punishable by death or life imprisonment)? The jails are filled with mules (mostly young women talked into it by a boyfriend) and idiots who think they won’t be “the one” who gets caught, that somehow they are smarter, luckier, etc. It’s pretty sad.

I propose an idea to every parent whose kid is about to go off backpacking in foreign lands – sit them down and make them watch, just once, a marathon of these 2 movies: Midnight Express (especially for guys) and Brokedown Palace (all girls take notice). I’m not kidding. Trust me, it may save their lives.

Posted in asia, expat, life, movie, news, press, thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

Have you done a midnight run from Korea and lived to tell the tale?

Posted by E on July 1, 2008

…If so, I need your comments. I’ve had overwhelming queries following my last year’s entry on the topic. A LOT of foreign teachers in Korea are in this boat. However, I haven’t done the run myself (as close as I ever came to it, I did abstain and I am glad I did, but it was rough), and therefore, as much as I know about it and sympathise with your situation, I still need to give others in this position the right advice.
So please, if you have done it and are back home safe and sound, do add your experience – I welcome and truly appreciate it. If you’ve been lurking on the net bitching about how you escaped Korea, this is an invitation to finally write about it. How did your midnight run go? Anything to watch out for? Any unexpected situations? Any issues at customs re. the multiple-visa issue, or leaving with another 6 months left on your visa?
If you click the link below, it’ll take you to the original blog that stirred the whole thing up. The comments and links to it have been growing ever since. Please don’t forget to add your imput!

How to do a Midnight Run without getting caught

from one dweggi waygook to another 🙂 lol….

Posted in korea, teacher | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »