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…

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…