Once, back in Russia, I parked my car overnight near my house instead of parking it in the garage. The next morning, I was preparing to take my little daughter to the swimming pool when my next-door neighbor suddenly grabbed my attention. He was so agitated! He spoke very, very fast, pointing to the back of my vehicle. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, so I went to him and to my huge surprise, I realized that the back tires were gone. Neat, accurate rectangular red brick structures were supporting the back end of the car!
My first thought was to thank God that my Mom was not around to tell me that I should’ve parked in the garage, given the shaky economic conditions of my Soviet country, but my temporary psychological comfort was abruptly interrupted by her voice.
“Ha!” She had decided to visit us that shiny Saturday morning. This was, after all, the Soviet Union. Perhaps God was elsewhere.
My Mom’s voice proclaimed, “Janna, this is what happens when the car does not spend the night time in the garage,” but that was not the end of her thoughts. My Mom, who had endured World War II and knew that one needs to survive in any given circumstance, continued, “Janna, you can’t leave the car outside. You have to drive it in the garage… Now!
My helpful neighbor quickly installed the spare tire, but the fourth one… was still a problem…
“How can I do it now, Mom?” I asked, repeatedly counting the tires and realizing each time that there were only three. “How can I drive on three tires?” I asked facetiously.
“Janna! When you want it you do it!” was her reply.
My feelings bounced between anger and the desire to burst out laughing. Time has passed, but I still remember one thing: “Janna! When you want it you do it!”
This conversation took place in the days just before my country began to crumble. Life was lining up a generous supply of adversity and turnabouts. My Mom’s words “Janna! When you want it you do it!” echoed in my memory when I needed support. They helped me to cross the Atlantic with almost no money or help.
At that time, the Soviet government allowed emigrants to exchange only $126.00 from local currency. So I had a choice: I could stay and keep what I had, or go…
Going wasn’t easy. A narrow window of opportunity had opened, but just barely. Bureaucracy tried to freeze the status quo with one hand and extort the last kopek from anyone who dared to leave with the other. Ethnic tensions, held in check for decades by Soviet power, found new voices and raised new threats. Not all neighbors were helping with tires. Some were stealing them. Some were trying to steal the country. Go. Definitely go. Tough choices are easy when you have no option. I took my $126.00, my mother and my daughter and dashed for the border.
Two weeks after arrival to the USA. My Mom, may daughter and me
The full story is told in my book Love Is Never Past Tense. I never thought about writing a book. I thought about writing a letter to my future grandkids, so they would know their background, appreciate what they have and know how they got it. I started that letter, but it never stopped. The story kept running and running out of my quill. Then I realized that I could wrap this story into an inspirational second chance romance, so I did that!
Doubts crept in. Who would read all this material I produced?
A thought about publishing a book knocked on the door… Was this thought knocking on my door? I believed it, and then I did not. Who will read it? – was the next thought. Doubt was trying to steal my tires, but in my imagination Mom’s voice repeated “Janna! When you want it you do it!”
Another pity party showed up as I flew home after a seminar. On my lap, I had a proof copy of the book. I was scanning the lines, double checking for mistakes and possible flaws. The thought ‘who will read it’ was following me even in the sky. Doubt was sharing my seat, but opportunity was in the seat next to me.
Opportunity can show up anywhere
The man in that seat wondered what I was reading. I briefly shared the story and he asked to see the manuscript. He started reading as we took off from Philadelphia and didn’t stop until we landed in Chicago.
Alex was a PhD graduate from Yale. As we parted he handed me his business card and asked me to let him know when the book would be published. He said he wanted to buy it. “No, no, no!” I protested! “I’ll send it to you!” I was so happy that someone wanted to read it. “A man?! Reading a love story?!” was in my head. “Please… No need to buy it! I’ll send it to you!” I heard my voice say.
Months later, I sent him the promised copy. After reading it, he called me and said that he could picture a great movie based on the book. A movie? I hadn’t imagined! The story for my future grandchildren was gaining traction.
Alex took on the role of my excited neighbor mounting the spare tire and eight months later the Jewish Federation of Omaha Nebraska invited me to present Love Is Never Past Tense. They flew me to Omaha, offered me a great hotel and placed an article with my picture and my biography on the front page of their newspaper! They bought, as far as I remember, two hundred books.
In Omaha NE
Three tires on. “Janna! When you want it you do it!” Life doesn’t stop, it keeps going and going. A new idea evolves in my head and keeps disturbing my world. I imagine a book trailer would be a great reward for all my trouble. I dial the first film maker my internet search provides and run into a guy who won an Emmy. He makes my book trailer and more than that – he becomes a friend.
My book trailer catches the eye of a screenplay writer who decides to read the book. He falls in love with Love Is Never Past Tense and writes a screenplay. The movie Alex imagined has started materializing.
We all know that opportunity comes from within. First, you need to decide. Then, everything falls into place. Not immediately, but it does! Did someone say that thoughts are materializing? They do!
Now I am looking for a new adventure. Is it a new adventure or is it a sequel of the same one? Is this the adventure that we call life? Is it really the case that when you want it you do it?
Do it, even when a whole set of tires is not available!
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A very enjoyable read,May 9, 2013
Love Is Never Past Tense… was as much of a cultural experience for me as it was an enjoyable read. The novel did an excellent job of immersing me (an American reader) in Russian culture, through the eyes of a character experiencing extremely turbulent times for that region.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about this book was the relationship between the two love interests. This isn’t some Disney fairytale – their relationship is messy, passionate, subtle, and always complicated. In short, it feels like a real relationship between two evolving personalities. As such, I kept turning the page to see how the two love interests would end up, since it wasn’t predictable from Act 1 (like so many fairy tales are).
Also, watching the main character as she struggled to escape the Soviet Union’s collapse (with a young daughter and elderly mother in tow) was captivating. This section of the novel is written in vivid detail, and we’ve spent enough time with the characters by this point to have real concern for their outcome.
Love Is Never Past Tense… was a fun read, and I’d highly recommend it.
Article Source: amazon.com May 9, 2013 Lin Rice
Today is Father’s Day… Some people are putting pictures of their fathers out on Facebook saying “I love you Dad.” So many! I’d want to say Happy Father’s Day to my Dad too.
He has been gone for many, many years. He died when I was about ten, walking in the street, with me… Only me.
From that time, I think about him almost every day. Nothing is perfect in this world. Also, nothing is permanent. Our life is extended from one eternity to another, and it’s so important to make the best of it. I think my Dad did it.
He graduated from Law School when he was 22. He was just a kid at that time. It was so hard to make your way in the Soviet Union, especially as an intellectual. He made it. Although I knew him for such a short period of time, he influenced me immensely. I often think what would have happened with me if he had lived longer. How would he have influenced me in my whole life?
Once in a while, in the quiet, I ask him “Dad, did I do it right? Dad, can you hear me?” and I am creating an answer… by myself. Would his answer be the same, or not? I don’t know. But once I found a paper that announced his lecture “Society and Personality, based on Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.” Isn’t it what I am doing as a life coach and leadership trainer, trying to help others find their spot in this huge world?
I was amazed. I couldn’t believe it. I was too little to talk with my Dad about such ideas back then when he was still alive and I was still a child. Would we talk about such notions later? I do not know, but I can see that we are still talking and probably he would appreciate what I do now. Thank you, Dad.
As a matter of fact, my former classmate wrote my biography for me. Currently it is on Amazon near my book Love is Never Past Tense, part of it devoted to my Dad. We were neighbors, and she still remembers him. Here is the link:http://www.amazon.com/Janna-Yesh…
I still remember the snowflakes falling on us when we were sledding together. I still remember how he made me drink milk so I’d have strong teeth. Thanks Dad! I have great teeth! I still remember my hand in his when he was escorting me to school when I was in my first grades.
Thank you Dad for these memories. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I hope you know that I am thinking of you.
Article source: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/4369640-hi-dad-happy-father-s-day June 16, 2013
Who was your favorite author, and if you could meet him/her what would you say?
This question is intended to create comparison and contrast, or at least to imagine a discussion. For me, it brought up a memory of actual events… and here’s the story.
While I was still teaching Russian in the Soviet Union, my college hosted a conference for educators of the Russian language. The agenda of this conference was to reveal how Russian language is perceived in national republics.
Russian was the main language of the USSR, but each of the 15 Republics had its own language as well. I lived in the capital of Moldova. I had to show to the attendees how Russian is taught and used by Moldavians.
This event was happening on the verge of Perestroika, when the journals and magazines were allowed to publish openly their thoughts and ideas.
Totally by chance, I ran into a novel written by one contemporary very well known actor, Leonid Filatov. Later on, he became a movie producer and theatre play director. The whole country loved and admired him and his talent! This masterpiece was a satirically-sarcastic work (can I say that?) in verse, directed toward the Russian government. It was so funny, so funny! And so sharp! It was possible to recognize all folk characters immediately.
After a lot of thought, I chose an unusual way to exhibit how well my students were prepared.
What my students performed on the stage made the 256 spectators laugh to tears. When they asked me later, how I managed to direct this play without having experience of a play director, I said “With great pleasure.” No more questions followed. This was quite an event in my life! But what you know now was only a part of it.
I always wanted to meet Filatov! It seemed that he had the same eyes that my Dad did, but I never thought about making some plans to meet this outstanding person. I never made such a goal. When I was leaving the Soviet Union, I was thinking what a pity that I hadn’t, but you never know…
I came to the US in 1990. Half a year later, someone called me from Columbus OH. Filatov had come to the US and he was holding presentations all over the country. I got the address. I got the time of his performance. The drive to Columbus was an hour and a half, but it seemed like an eternity. I invited a couple of people to come along on this trip to amplify the pleasure. We arrived at the building where Filatov had to perform. He was standing on the steps, together with another famous Russian actor. Nobody else was around them, and the impression was that they were waiting just for us. Hesitating only several seconds, I approached the two movie giants and introduced myself. I shared with Leonid Filatov what you already know. He was so surprised! We talked and hugged, and talked again after his event, and I gave him a copy of the newspaper article about me directing the play before it became popular.
In my life coaching, I often talk about the Law of Attraction—how things show up and unlikely events happen as the materialized result of what we envision.
Thoughts are materializing. Aren’t they?
Right now, I’m envisioning that you’ll check out my book at Amazon.com.
Love Is Never Past Tense is now available for Kindle, so I am busy filling in all the little descriptive corners on Amazon and Shelfari. One of the more interesting problems for this book is settings and locations. The story takes place in several cities and countries over enough time that their names actually change. Let me share an example, then ask for your opinion.
One of the central themes from the book is an exodus from the USSR caused by the political instability of the country breaking up. On today’s map, I could refer to some of the key locations as Odessa and Koktebel (Ukraine), Kishniev (Moldova), and Moscow (Russia). Each of these places would be listed as in thr USSR at the time the story began. Do I list them by their current names or the name they had at the time?
Koktebel is a particular challenge because the book talks about how the Soviets changed the name of the city to Planerskoie and back. Events take place in Odessa both before and after the country boundary changed. How do I show this as a location on Shelfari?
It may even be appropriate to get into more detail, especially for Odessa. Scenes take place in recognizable places within the city — the Potemkin Stair, Lanzheron Park, and Deribasovskia Street (as hard to pronounce as San Francisco’s Lombard Street is to drive) are examples. Should these be listed individually? These all have significant story elements related to the city.
As the exodus takes place, the characters spend some time in Italy. There isn’t as much detail, but there are brief descriptions of Rome, Naples, and other places. Does it make sense to list every place, no matter how small its part in the book?
Love Is Never Past Tense is about Love! It’s about overcoming obstacles, about romance and adventure. It isn’t intended as a travel book. For the moment, I’m thinking to limit references to places that are significant to the story and use current names (Kokotebel, not Planerskoie), but I’m open to suggestions.
What location and setting information would be helpful to you in selecting a book? Please reply to this article if you have a strong opinion.
Article source: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/4140185-some-settings-behind-the-story May 04, 2013