Recent comments

Category Quick Jump

Note that we've played, um, loose with the categories so the first 3 especially, are practically meaningless.

Fun
Fashion
Happiness

Efficiency
News 4 A 1
Reich 4.0

the novel

The Zone of Alienation, cont.

The Red ForestOk, so now that I know more about the area, I’m gonna say that my characters live in The Zone of Alienation, aka The Zone of Exclusion, The Chernobyl Zone, The 30 Kilometer Zone, The Exclusion Zone, The Fourth Zone. With the Chernobyl disaster at the center, this is the area around it in a 30 km radius.

Some areas are more radioactive than others; for example, burial sites for the equipment used in the decontamination work.

All activity, except for the functioning of the Chernobyl Power Plant, and scientific studies of nuclear safety, are prohibited. About 3000 people, referred to by locals as “the Liquidators,” work in the Zone of Alienation. Another 3800 work in the Chernobyl Power Plant, administered separately from The Zone. These workers all live in Slavutych.

The Zone of Alienation

Ok, so I’ve got a bit more lost than usual? Yah – went down the internal rabbit hole, let myself get caught up in detail. It’s also hard to maintain balance. That beautiful blissful feeling of confidence and calm, knowing this is about me and for me.

Again, it has gotten hard to write, when things are going well. But I feel I have to keep writing. I cannot abandon it again.

Lalalalala. Writin’! It’s good to keep a journal. A woman I know said that if you want to create self-directed media, get a blog but that if you want to write vanity press get a livejournal. I argued with her, asking her if she didn’t consider all media to be vanity press.

Poetry and Mushrooms

Chernobyl, Chornobyl, Black Stalks. Black Grass. Where you doomed from the beginning, dear Cher Noble? Are you noble, land that suffered – did you suffer? Or did you laugh as the two-legged animals built their energy machines, knowing you were indestructible, while they were not?

Did you laugh as they brought workers to the plant? Did you remember the famines of Stalin, the killings of the Nazis? Did you shake your large, fertile head, knowing that the life you made would go on – 100 years, give or take a few, being a blip, a micro-second, in your eternity? Did you know that you would continue, pushing up the black mushrooms to shroud the reactor? The Cryptococcus neoformans?

Mushrooms - mostly from Paul Stamets' TED Talk

  • 6 major extinctions on the planet
  • if all micro-organisms could vote, would humans be voted on or off the planet? (that vote is happening now.)

Ukraine and Mother Break

The most important political issue in Ukraine is relations with Russia. L’viv identifies more with Ukraine nationalism and the Greek Orthodox church while Donetsk, predominantly Russian, favours Soviet-ism. In Kiev and central and southern regions, these issues are not as important to the population. Everywhere, people feel unified by shared economic difficulties.

Mother Break

Oh hey, I’ll get back to the Chernobyl story soon. I’m experiencing a mother break.

I just came back from a women in technology event. God, I get tired of hearing how to go forward. Do any of these women know what it is like to have loss and failure, and the only bright thing you can imagine being a reward after death, for suffering through life instead of committing the mortal sin of suicide, bred into them?

My mother once tried to explain to me how hard it was to be a mother. “When you were a baby and cried at night, I’d just pick you up out of your cradle and cry right along with you,” she told me.

Ukraine, Part Three - Research

WWII took between five and eight million Ukrainians, including approximately 500,000 Jews, plus another approximate 1.4 million ethnic Ukrainians fighting with the Soviet army. Victory Day, therefore, is to this day, one of ten Ukrainian national holidays.

700 cities and towns and 28,000 villages were destroyed during WWII. There was a famine in 1946-47 caused by drought and lack of infrastructure.

In 1945, Ukraine was one of the founders of the United Nations. The first Soviet computer, MESM, was built at Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology and became operational in 1950.

20% of the people Stalin “deported” to Gulags and labor camps were Ukrainians, as of January 1, 1953.

By 1950, Ukraine surpassed pre-war industry and production levels, due to Soviet investment, of 20% of their 5 year plan budget, and Ukraine became a European leader in industrial production, as well as a center for the Soviet arms industry and high-tech research. This, in turn, led to Ukrainian elites making their way into Soviet leadership, most notably, Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled the USSR from 1964 to 82.

Ukraine, Continued - Research

After the Golden Age of Kiev, Kievan Rus disintegrated in principalities. In the 11th and 12th centuries, there was a massive migration of the Slavic peoples into the heavily forested northern regions, because of constant attacks by nomadic Turks, such as the Pecheneg and Kipchak tribes. In the 13th century, the Mongols destroyed Kievan Rus. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240. Poland subjugated the area, now called Galicia-Volhynia, mid-14th C. By 1569, the area’s nobility had joined with the Polish nobles, while the commoners turned to the orthodox Cossacks for protection against the newly Catholicized nobility.

1657-1686 saw a 30 year war between Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine.

In the 19th century, Ukraine had become a rural area largely ignored by Russia and Austria. As the Ukraine began to urbanize and modernize, a nationalist movement started. Austrian Galicia became the center of this movement, which Russia attacked with pogroms against Jews and severe restrictions on the Ukraine language.

Ukraine - Research

Ukraine Coat of Arms Before the 12th Century, the Kieven Rus’ state was the largest, most powerful nation in Europe. It was founded in 880 by Scandinavian traders, at Kiev. According to the sole Scandinavian records for Kieven Rus, early leaders were Scandinavian warrior-elites, who within three generations, had merged with the Slavic natives. The eventual decline of Kievan Rus’ power was due to the “decline of Constantinople, the drying up of trade routes, and the subsequent Mongol invasion of Rus'.”

Chernobyl and Pripyat - Research

Pripyat, a year before the disasterWhoa! This more detailed outline is totally going to work! I just started rereading yesterday’s post and left off in the middle with the thought “yah, yah, yah, I get it – where’s today’s work assignment?!” whereas the previous few days, I’d read the day’s previous work and often, a couple days back’s work also. Woot!

Ok, Chernobyl:

* I am going to include the little bit I started about Chernobyl is today’s post because it’s such a tiny amount that it’s better to bring it forward:

From Too Broad Outline to Specific Outline, and Work Plan

Ok, so I have:

1. Theme: protagonist's identity as a depressed, lonely, lost and confused woman (I’ve had enough with the Capitals – I hope we get it that I’m a bit gauche.)
2. Rule: fiction, and
3. Characters (3): the toad, the man and the alien.
Location: Chernobyl.

1. Describe Chernobyl
a. Mushrooms covering reactor
b. TED talk on mushrooms
c. Chernobyl, Pripyat, Slavutych and area before the accident, during and afterwards

2. The man and his family –
a. what’s going to happen to this man?
b. Who is he?
c. Why is he in this story?

3. The alien
a. Research aliens in fiction and in real life, to help create a more realistic alien and/or to create a more interesting version of an alien
b. Work up the connection of the aliens to the radioactivity (or not)
c. What’s going to happen to the alien?
d. Who is she?
e. Why is she in the story?

4. The toad
a. Research toads to help create a more realistic toad
b. What’s going to happen to the toad?
c. Who is he/she?
d. Why is he/she in the story?

The Climax

I can see that if I want to actually finish this novel, I’m going to have to write a more comprehensive outline because I won’t want to read what I wrote the night or weeks before each time. It’s just not practical.

So, let's work up the exceedingly bare outline I have. To start, this is what I now have:

1. Theme: my identity as a depressed, lonely, lost and confused woman (I’ve had enough of the Capitals – I hope we get it that I’m a bit gauche.)
2. Rule: fiction, and
3. Characters (3): the toad, the man and the alien.

Location: Chernobyl