Friday, July 24, 2009

Hitting the Highlights, Vilnius Style

The big stuff, so far:

  • Canadian embassy reception at the Vilnius Novotel. Dressed up writers eating canapes is pretty much the same anywhere in the world.
  • Poetry workshop with Peter Cole. Instead of sitting there silently while other people comment on our work, we are asked to guide the workshop through our thought processes. As Peter says, the chinese character for sincerity is literally a man standing beside his word. So we have to stand up for our words, if we can. It is disconcerting. Soul-ripping, actually. Like drinking self-doubt from a can.
  • Travel writing workshop with Laima Vince. Next Friday, we get to go to the KGB Museum, which is housed in the old cells where the KGB used to interrogate prisoners. The guides/docents at the museum used to be former prisoners, but now said former prisoners have retired and passed on their stories to young historians who guide tour groups and answer questions.
  • Tomorrow, Trakei Castle.
  • Tonight, Lithuania's version of Mexican food.
  • Rain. When it's not raining, it's threatening rain. Sun is a ruse that hides the rain until it is upon you. All is puddles and ringworm fear. Yesterday, a bus drove through the flooded gutter just to splash us. And succeeded. Extravagantly.
  • Then there was the toddler at the beer garden, picking receipts up from the ground and holding them up so his mother could light them with her cigarette. Apparently it's OK to play with fire here if your mother lights it for you.

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