– Dasha Shkurpela –
Another attempt at imagination: I make believe I belong to my grandparents’ generation. As the regime built, it destroyed. In the midst of the epic construction, the familiar world has been shattered. The language has become foreign. All these new words, the meanings of which are unknown. Who are these ‘stakhanovites’ cramming five-year plans into four years? Why do they do it? People quietly vanish. It’s better not to ask any questions. The churches are gone. The sound heard is of a jackhammer. Nature is no longer to be understood, but to be conquered. There’s fear in the rustle of leaves.
I would not have been able to put any feelings into words. I would have been lost, suspended, adrift. The split between generations would have been unbreachable. What would I talk about? What would I not talk about? Would I have tried to protect my children with silence? What would it take to keep silent on a daily basis? Would they have understood my language? I would not have thought about them living without the past. Would I and would they feel the rupture separating us? Could I reach across the rift with my touch? What kind of touch would it have been? Careful, cautious, and trying to make a connection? Or effortless, natural, and knowing?
This make-belief is an inversion and it turns my eye inward. I observe the gone generation in my body and in my mind, feeling disoriented when I do this research. Shellshocked? Why do these words come to