My writing hit a bump a few weeks ago, when my parents and I had a discussion and they expressed displeasure with what I was doing. Oh, they hadn’t read a word of it, lest you think that’s necessary for criticism. They feel strongly that a person like me, who was largely shielded from the horrors of the Soviet regime and whisked out of its grasp before any long lasting damage could take place, was not up to the task.
But I am writing about my childhood, I protest. Not a definitive history of the USSR.
They dismiss me.
It’s hubris, they think. And pure stupidity.
There’s a type of nostalgia for the USSR now, FX is airing The Americans tonight, a new drama about KGB agents living in Washington, DC, and don’t the 1980s look quaint? Keri Russell is going to be one of the KGB agents and I don’t know how it will be possible not to root for her.
The show’s Twitter avatar is the hammer and sickle, a disturbing and offensive image that now passes for pop culture. It’s not the exact replica of the hammer and sickle used on the Soviet flag, but still. It was the image of Communism, of Stalin, who let me remind you, killed more people that Hitler. But it’s retro, so it’s fun, right?
Of course I’ll be watching. How can I not be? And I don’t even think it makes me a hypocrite to see what Americans think the Soviets were like.
And I’m slowly getting back to writing. Not because the world needs to hear my story, of what seeing a hammer and sickle avatar in my Twitter stream does to me, but because I need to tell it.