Tuesday, August 4, 2015


What a stupid title, for my #IWSG check in for August. But for the fact that this summer started off so very badly, I know I really do have plenty to be grateful for, but at times, the gratitude wears thin, and the worrying about the future returns. “Living in the moment” has never been easy for me, and it has taken me a long time to try and “wear the world lightly” upon my shoulders. I'm certain it is this way for many people; it's just not something I care to holler from the rooftops or yammer too much about in my blog. I know I've come a long way back to regain my good physical health, and as for my mental state, it is what it is. I manage it.

"Goldurnit! I thought this was a Kermit the Frog costume. Who in the Hell is Kermit the Spider?"

With that said, it seems that all I've seen in the news and have reacted to has been negative. We don't seem to be going in a direction that indicates any enlightenment that I can see, and yet, as I commented to one of my readers, we cannot give up hope, nor can we ever stop trying to better ourselves, our environment, our lives and I don't mean in just a general way, but in a patently observable way, that is noticeable around us. I don't believe that we are just put on this planet to live from day-to-day, without making some effort to help ourselves or others around us. It's the, for want of a better word, struggle that makes us alive.

Now, I feel like I'm on some treadmill here, trying to explain myself, but I think it's patently obvious that I mean working or giving our service to others, either in volunteer work, or in helping a neighbor. I was horrified when they removed my “fairy-lady” neighbor from her home, recently. Her husband does not speak English, and I found myself trying to find her. She was located and returned, but I stopped and wondered what would have happened had we not located her. She's not always coherent, but she's easily dealt with. I was able to put forth my own information as a “next of kin” or “emergency contact”. I wish I had thought of it sooner. Thankfully, she's home and all is well. Just as my neighbor – or my “pretend adopted son, Alex” is my “emergency contact”, and I, his. We had to start really thinking of these little things, after Jim died. How that really makes things better, is a tangible thing. It's so we don't get lost in the system. It does happen, as I've found on a research project I am doing for a political action group. But enough about that. 

Для моих русских читателей и последователей : Огромное спасибо за вашу веру в меня , и я надеюсь встретиться с вами когда-нибудь, когда я посещаю . До тех пор , до свидания ! 

I have been writing and trying to make it a more regular thing. I like the idea of the #IWSG Writing Sprint, but I haven't been as good about it as I could be. The only really interesting thing, is that I find for the first time this week, my Russian readers outnumbered my American readers, since I started this blog in 2011. It has never been any secret that I have a huge affinity and love for the Russians and I primarily came to know them through their music and then later, their stunning literature and poetry. I adore the mysticism and the hardiness of these wonderful people and their sense of humor. I guess you'd better have one, if you're going to live in a country that tough! At any rate, this is my monthly check-in and I hope to have at least some coherent words in something resembling a plot line, maybe. The Orchestra starts back up on the 1st of September and we will be playing Rimsky-Korsakov's “Scheherazade” on our first concert. I'm really looking forward to that. Again, with the beautiful Russian music!


Pat Garcia said...

It sounds like you are going through some pretty heavy issues at the moment. However, you are not confusing. Your rant is very cohesive and very well put. Glad to hear that you are gaining more Russian readers. Do you speak Russian? Do you ever post a blog article in Russian? That might gain you even more readers and also a chance to share per Internet in the Russian Culture.

All the best for your manuscript.
Pat Garcia

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I actually get a lot of "readers" from Russia as well, and I never mention or discuss anything remotely Russian. Maybe a lot of folks have their proxy servers directed through Russia? Maybe it's spam bots/crawlers? Who knows.

Keep writing, keep calm, keep sane. Keep being you.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Nothing is coincidental, that's for sure. I spent July finishing my political thriller about the fall of the Soviet Union (indirectly). My point is my protagonist is a Russian assassin. Nice to meet you. Thanks for co-hosting! Best of luck in your writing.

Bish Denham said...

It does seem to get harder and harder to remain in love with the world and life. BUT, every day I try to do or say things that are positive. I smile at strangers, open doors, say thank you, post only uplifting things on my facebook page. I give where I can, which isn't much, but still, I do. After having work for 23 years with abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children I know that I made a difference. Kids who are all grown up now with children of their own, have told me. What greater gift is that?

Keep up the good fight. Enlightenment doesn't come over night, but it does come. And Scheherazade... one of my favorites. My dad had the album, we played it all the time.

Bish, your co-host #128 on the Alex Scale

M Pax said...

The world does seem bleak lately. I keep in mind what I have that's good. It helps. I've been through a rough year so far, so understand. Keep going and reach for your own light. We can only control who we are and what we do to impact the world.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I believe we were put here to make life better for others. Shame so few people try to do that.
You're getting a lot of Russian love there!

Jenni Enzor said...

That's cool about the Russian readers. I love Russia too and minored in it in college. I did a post about my favorite Russian books for kids around the time of Sochi that got a lot of Russian hits.

Viola Fury said...


Hello! Thank you for your gracious words and thank you for stopping by. At times, my stream-of-thought rants are much more cohesive than any plots I could possibly scheme up. I think the heaviest of times are behind me for the time being; the honoring of my loved ones will never cease, and I believe that my joy in life is a large part of that honor. When I first started my blog, back when I was "homeless", I wrote about things in my past, part of which was some of the studying I had done in college; Russian Literature and Languages, as a way to reach out to my Russian friends.

I had met several in orchestras earlier in my life and the orchestral world is a rather insular one, but it wasn't for a year or so, that I really started looking at who was reading my blog. My very first viola gig in Birmingham, Michigan, paired me with a stand partner, who was fresh out of Leningrad Conservatory; she couldn't drive, nor speak English the entire first year. We drew rebuses in our music and tee-hee'ed a lot and played well together.

I speak a little Russian -- I took two years in college, but cheat and use a translator when stuck -- and also use vkontakte, which is Russian fb to broadcast posts which might be of particular interest to Russian readers. I also have Russian followers on Twitter. We all tweet in horrible English and Russian.

The trend seemed to put Russia in the number two spot continually for quite a while, and as C. D. says, I wasn't sure if they were bots, or spam or what, then I got some answers. I was also getting feedback from India on my Tech Tuesdays posts, which were always hilarious, but that's another story.

I'm so happy to be a part of this part of the writing world, Pat. I'm still finding my way around. Again, I thank you for your time and your kind words and the chance to be here! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Hi! I thought that at first, too. They may be crawlers, or bots, and/or have their servers directed through western Russia, in particular. But, I have noticed, in particular, if I am writing on certain subjects (and this probably makes a case for the "bots") the hits shift to different countries. If I start writing about Hector Berlioz, I get hits from France. I know I have many readers in Germany and Italy, because of my knowledge of German Classical music -- the different schools and fine Italian stringed instruments and those are most likely from my Twitter feed. I just don't know how much information is fed into the algorithms and how much the bots and crawlers are really looking at. For awhile, I didn't filter my spam, just to see what kind of stuff was going on, and I was afraid I was going to invoke the Elder Gods and Chthulu it got so weird.

So, yes, you very well could be right, but I've certainly put enough feelers out there and written garnered several followers from Russia, they could be legitimate readers. They will occasionally RT my posts on Twitter, too. But they are legitimate followers; I don't do #followbacks. Some readers are from SETI@home, where I've been a member of the Russian team for four years now.

Thank you so much for the encouragement, C.D. It gets a bit calmer, and a bit saner, every day. Wolf is back in his element; he's reclaimed the living room. Jim's presence is here, along with my mother's (She's been with me in an urn since 2002; they have a lot of catching up to do). They're a companionable pair. And I'm still leading a Clan of crazies; ten of us crashed Kalphite Kings at 5 am and wrecked the joint. Who says a 59-year old can't play? Mary

Viola Fury said...


Thanks so very much for stopping by! I, too, do not believe in coincidence. I never have, and that is fascinating! It's really a pleasure to meet you, and I must read your book! The idea of a Russian Assassin as protagonist would have been unthinkable 15 to 20 years ago, but it's so intriguing, due to the very nature of the Russian spirit and their ideals. People in the west have this idea that somehow because the Russians were Communists after the revolution of 1917, that this somehow changed their character and they were instantly the Devil Incarnate. What they overlooked and what I never could get anyone to explain to me in a coherent fashion is just WHY communism was so terrible.

I won't go into it here, but I am a child of the 60s and my father was a college student during the McCarthy era. This was the "Reds under the Beds" scare that turned up not one single American Communist, yet destroyed countless lives in this country. Stalin didn't have to do a thing; shame on us.

We're rather trying to go down that path again! Anyway, I thank you for stopping by. You are so kind for visiting! I will be by to see you! Good luck with your book and I am looking forward to it! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Firstly, thank you so very much for stopping by. Secondly and more importantly, thank you for what you are doing to make the world better! This is what I am talking about, and what I and my "adopted" son Alex talked about again today, before I came here to answer all of you. Alex is known for being a "fixer", here in this 'hood, which is how, Jim and I originally met him, almost 5 years ago, when we lived in the homeless shelter and Alex, helped Jim and I get the apartment that I am now living in, alone, since Jim died, on May 13, of this year. Jim and I long ago, took Alex in, as a dear, dear friend, and more like a son (I never had children and Jim was estranged from his). Alex has no family; in fact, most of the people in this 'hood are cast-aways, for one reason or another. We make alliances, and we keep close the people who are trustworthy and loyal, and there are some here you steer clear of. It's kind of like "West Side Story" without the singing and dancing.

Anyway, there's a lot of misery here, Bish, and Jim, Alex and I, and now, just Alex and I do what we can to alleviate what suffering and confusion we can and help out where we're able to. My mother was a psychologist who worked with disturbed children for many years and when she was forced to retire due to her health, she STILL helped out where she could, up until the time of her death. Jim was the same way. He was always "paying" the locals a dollar or two to spruce up the yard, or making them food, saying nice things to people. It is SO much easier to be nicer to people than it is to be harsh. I find it hard to fathom when people are just out and out mean, unless it's because they're pushing their own agendas (as in the case of my own ex-husband, Bill Nunnally, a social worker for HeartlandforChildren in Bartow, Fla, who was mean as hell to me when I went BLIND, due to a heart condition, because putting a wife in the ground is cheaper than a divorce), so that's not hard to figure out. But, really? For material things? How happy can anyone be? I'm so much better off, and so much happier in service this way, doing what I can. I still play, and can write, and as there is no such thing as coincidence, this was meant to be.

There is still plenty of joy to be had in life, and enlightenment doesn't come overnight. There really is no great epiphany, only peace that comes. I can sit in silence and enjoy the calm. I am at ease with myself, and. . . Scheherazade. My daddy played it, too. I had to go and find the same, EXACT recording we had listened to, when I got my rehearsal music. It was like having him in the room with me. Thanks for reminding me of him, Bish!

Viola Fury said...

@M Pax!

Thank you so much for coming by! It has been a bleak year, but I also remind myself that much of it is controlled by what we let in; you're right about that. How we react to it, is so important and it is always a measure of our strength, as to how much we let it affect us. If I choose to let something really upset me, it will. What I have to be careful of is to not hold things in, nor let things fester; that's when I run into trouble and I find myself in the "laughing academy", as I did once before.

I can honestly laugh about it now, but I lost about six weeks there in Feb-March of 2012 and woke up, after a nice nap. Jim had me Baker-Acted. I was much better for it, and apparently, I did some pretty interesting things, but was deemed no harm to myself. We're not too sure about being "a harm to others", but because I live in a rough neighborhood, am legally blind and carry a stick, it's a rumor I foster to keep away the creeps. It works; I've only had to put on the "mental act" once or twice to scare away the muggers.

To the people who know me around here (at least the ones who haven't gotten on my bad side) I'm a nice person and will do everything in my power to help and that's the best any of us can do. Again, thanks for coming by, and don't give up hope, M. The world is wonderful, and most people are inherently good.

Viola Fury said...


Thank you so much for stopping by! You would think with all of the technology and all of the resources and the ability we have to use them and the intelligence at our fingertips, that there should be no one on this planet that would be in pain or in crisis or at war, yet, it seems, we are at a tipping point. At no other time, have we faced such a disastrous period when it comes to climate change, loss of species, loss of life due to hunger, disease and war. Famines are man-made, by their very nature, and yet, we have all of this hand-wringing and bi-partisanship going on in this country and in the world's governments; Greece is defaulting, as is Puerto Rico.

The list goes on and on, and yet, to listen to the politicians in this country, we sound like Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone are tuning up for the GOP debates tonight. I can't wait for Chuck Wendig's #fakedebate! That will make eminently more sense than the ten empty suits up on stage for the Debates. If nothing else, I'll have several good laughs, release some endorphins and my essential tremors will get a cheap high for the night! I'm really looking forward to it!

Again, thank you for stopping by and your support, Alex. You rock!

Viola Fury said...


Thanks so much for stopping by! That is so cool about the Russian books! Which were your favorite? I loved watching the Olympics from Sochi. It was so strange, that it was warmer on the Black Sea at the time than it was here in the U. S. I remember Jim, Alex and I were watching and it was actually colder in Florida than it was in Sochi and around the Caucasus Mountains. I wrote about the Caucasian Sketches by Ippolitov-Ivanov, a Russian Composer, who studied with Rimsky-Korsakov and Gliere.

I think one of my favorite books is "Dead Souls" by Gogol; a satire on the census-taker apparatchiks around the time of Alexander III. The book was never fully realized and was destroyed upon his death, but was adapted for theatre by Mikhail Bulgakhov. I read a dog-eared copy of it; that and "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevsky (which contains some hilarious slap-stick, in spite of its tragedy) are my two favorite Russian works, Jenni. I do enjoy Tolstoy, but to me, Gogol and Dostoevsky are a bit more down-to-earth; Tolstoy was an aristocrat, something he tried to deny at the end of his life and his writing reflects that. I never felt the empathy I felt I should for Tolstoy's characters.

Thanks again, Jenni for stopping by! I will be by soon! Mary

M.R. R. said...

I love Kermit the Spider.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Viola! I realized you were on the IWSG twice, so I deleted the one at #255 and kept the one higher on the list at #206. Just didn't want you to think you'd been removed.

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you enjoyed Kermit! The charming little jumping spiders are the brain-children of author Nikki McCormack, who is a "jumping spider whisperer" and they make appearances around the cyber-sphere, on occasion! You never know when you might enjoy a sighting! Thanks again for visiting! Mary

Viola Fury said...


I'm bad about doing that. If I cannot find my name {being legally blind), or have forgotten, I will sometimes make double entries. No fear, with all the responses, I was fairly sure I'd been seen. Thanks again! Mary

Crystal Collier said...

You're back! I'm still woefully absent from the interwebs, but attempting to be more present each week.

Seriously? More readers in Russia than the US? I've got a decent readership in Russia, but definitely nowhere near rivaling my US readers. You must have a secret. :)

Viola Fury said...

Crystal, Thanks for dropping by! I've had a bit of a rough summer, but am getting back into the swing of things. Over the course of my blogging career, I've written quite a bit about the Russians; indeed, I minored in Russian and Russian Lit when I went for my Music Performance degree. I've known them initially through their music, but thanks to my father, I also became an "armchair historian" and we were both focused on places like the Black Sea and Russia's history up until the death of my father in 1987, when I had to go it alone. I've been in music and had many Russian stand partners, traveled there, back during the Cold War and have made no secret of the fact, that politics aside, I have a huge admiration for these people. As tough and proud as they are in a way we are not, they also have an inferiority complex and are considerable paranoid about interference from outside agencies.

By keeping those four things in mind, it is easy to understand why Ukraine is such a quagmire; there are ethnic Russians of many generations living cheek-by-jowl next to ethnic Ukrainians, who have only returned in the last generation or so. It's very confusing. Last week, Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Avoz was being shelled, but no one could figure out who was doing the shelling. One batch of folks are pro-Russian and anti-Ukraine, and the following the opposite occurs. It is a regional dispute that has existed for centuries.

As to your question, I was once asked by my brother-in-law if I would ever like to work as an analyst on Russian Affairs in the Pentagon, because of my insights. He was going to be transferred there to the Arab Desk and they needed good Russian analysts. After I horse-laughed him out of room, I told him, "I'm a musician; I keep up on that region, because I am so fascinated by it." My understanding is more a case of "walking around in the other guy's shoes." With that in mind, I write many of my posts aimed at my Russian readers, mostly regarding music, or their writers. If I write about Ukraine, I really put the objective spotlight on it. Ukraine has asked for help from other western European countries, which they have been reluctant to give, yet, the United States has sent "advisors" which rings all kinds of alarm bells for me. This is one of the ways we got into a shooting war with Viet Nam and the reason the other western governments don't want to help is because they've been down this road with Ukraine in times, nay, centuries past and they are also facing serious economic crises of their own.

I do feel that the U. S. should not be the world's policemen and I really have serious reservations about having our Military advisors there. It's just one step from an accident, or a shooting incident, or a quick escalation and we will be in a shooting war with Putin. I find it extremely interesting, that out of all of our old foes, we have reconciled with; Japan, Germany, even China and Viet Nam, we still bear this ill-will to the former Soviet Union and it makes us look weak.

Anyway, I've jabbered on enough, Crystal. I must tell you, I made a 4-cheese lasagna today and here's the really important part: I DID NOT SO MUCH AS EAT ONE NIBBLE, ONCE CRUMB OF ANY CHEESE, UNTIL THE LASAGNA WAS DONE! THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! Thanks for stopping by! All my love to you and yours, Mary

P. S. To REALLY answer your question, I think my secret is, I just write about things the Russians enjoy hearing about; especially classical music.