This blog is about my writing and my reading: My published books and a novel in progress; a course I am teaching on drama and theater, and the adventures and challenges of sharing literature with students.
Some topics that interest me: parallel worlds; life after death; the human condition; concepts of heaven; Hungary; the human toll of the Cold War; Shakespeare's works; literature and life.
Dalma Takács is available from www.amazon.com.
Kindle edition, $3.99; Paperback,
story is about leaving behind our past and surviving the present. About learning to
treasure the pains and the joys that make us who we are.Penny
Kiss is a Hungarian refugee girl who was forced to leave her home and friends
in Hungary after the communist takeover and start a new life in England in
The Middle East is in turmoil: Egyptians have deposed
their dictator, Mubarak. Egyptians are rejoicing in the victory over
oppression. I ask my students how they feel about the events in Egypt. How does
it compare with the Fall of the Berlin Wall, I ask them. I meet with vague
smiles and blank stares. Their minute life spans of20 or so years barely embrace the events of
September 11, 2001. The Berlin Wall and the crumbling of the Soviet Empire seem
to them like shadowy visions in a history book.
I remember how we celebrated in 1989 and made wild
predictions of a rosy future.
"And you thought only war could change the
world," my husband said.
"And a little help from Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan and
Maggie Thatcher," I added.
My husband is a historian. He likes to keep things in
perspective. The Soviet empire was created by human beings, he says; human
beings don't last forever. Dictatorship can't last forever.Even dictators must bow to economic pressures
as the kings before them had.
Of course he is right; and he rejoices at the fall of communism.
But his rejoicing is different from mine. I am a child of the Cold War. I may
live in The US, and the horrors of communist Eastern Europe are no more, but I
cannot erase those years from my memory.
When I left Hungary, I carried my baggage of sympathies
and loyaltieswith me to England and
locked them up in a lengthy journal. Then I moved to America, and my journal
came with me. Life in America forced me to be happy with my fate and I kept my
journalunder lock and key. But the
baggage is still in my closet, and tonight it demands to come out.
"Plus ca change, plus c'est la même chose," say
the French. We change and we stay the same. I am not the same person I was when
I wrote my diary in the 50s. The world is not the same today that it was in the
50s. We are no longer fighting the same battles. In 1956 Hungarians fought and
died to defeat communism. They failed in 1956, butthey started a process that led to the fall
of the Berlin Wall.
Today 1956 is only a blip on the radar screen of history.
The fall of the Wall is another blip. From one blip to the other we live, we
fall in love, we marry, start a family, get old and die. My blip is not
necessarily your blip, but my blip has determined my place in the world as
yours has determined yours.The songs
that echo in my head are the Hungarian folk songs my father has taught me. Your
songs may be rock songs or country music, but you treasure them the same way
because they are part of who you are. Our enemies and weapons may be different,
but we share the same goals: we fight for survival as human beings.
So I unpack my diaryto see how the fight for survival looked in the 1950s and I find
strength as I read.