Birch: Hermitage Cats

One day, I went yet again to the State Hermitage Museum. It was well before opening and while I stood taking photos of the huge expanse of Dvortsovaya Ploshchad, Palace Square – the central heart of Saint Petersburg – a tabby cat wandered across the warming cobbles, brushing confidently against my leg. The cat perched…

Review: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby

How have I never heard of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya before? Admittedly, my reading of contemporary Russian literature is dependent on the availability of English translations, since my Russian reading ability is torturously slow. The title of this collection of works appeared in my Goodreads suggestions: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s…

Birch: Memory External

Without intentionally writing it into the manuscript, the role of memory is a key driving force in Birch. Alyona, the central character, begins her story in purposeful denial of her family’s memory. She is forced to contend with the result of this denial when she becomes the primary caretaker of her grandmother, Irina Alexandrovna. Irina’s…

Birch: Hermitage (an introduction)

A mass of first and second hand research contributed to the material that resulted in the manuscript I’ve called Birch. Much of it didn’t make the final cut, and some is present only in small glimpses. I’m hoping to share the details and experiences I encountered in this blog. This first entry features one of…

Not from this place

I’ve recently finished reading a book set in Saint Petersburg. I find I’m deliberately seeking out contemporary writing in this setting, partly as vicarious way to be back there. I won’t name the novel, but it left me disappointed. More than disappointed, I felt dismayed. What bothered me so much was that the concept of…

Apparently writing is only half the work

Half a month ago, on November 30, I listened to Walter Mason speak at Sutherland Library. I hadn’t heard Walter talk before… I must grudgingly admit that I was itching to get back to finishing the last 800 of my 50,000 NaNoWriMo words. I am so glad I didn’t slink away. Walter, author of the…

Welcome!

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’ve been meaning to start this for a while now. Procrastination is the enemy of anything creative, and writing in particular. As an introduction, my name is Dasha Maiorova. I’m a writer living in south Sydney. My name is Russian – I was born in Belarus back in the…