A year and a month into the Ukraine war + Strudels + 'what the hell is fair?'
“...no matter how bad things get, we will still laugh, because when we laugh, we stay alive.” 🙌 THIS.
i love you and thank you for this.
i really like "But still, I bother."
and "we might as well enjoy a strudel or two."
and "She would laugh and for a moment her heart would be free."
and the rest of it.
thank you for sharing, friend.
I saved your first essay from a year ago and love and appreciate rvery word of this. I've been working on a post about writing while the world is burning prompted by a note from a Ukrainian friend whose family remains there. I will share this as part of that post. Thank you Alex.
Truly.,,I look forward to everything you write. Thank you for the laugh that put an ache in my heart 💔
The best upside of suffering has always been a great sense of humor. That's why spoiled little rich kids can't take or tell a joke.
You didn't ask for a joke, but I'm giving you one anyway.
My son (guess his name) thinks this is the most hilarious bit in the history of the ever ever. He's kind of not wrong.
This was such a beautiful post. Heartfelt, but still appropriately funny. Such a tough balance to strike. It was also very cool to see pictures of your family!
It is always hard to take in how horribly we can treat each other, often justified by some small, inconsequential "difference". It is the very worst of being human I think. Your writing is great.
Beautiful. I love reading about your family and you're right, there's no use wringing our hands over our privilege. Makes me think of a Danish saying my family over there taught me: "It's like sticking your tongue out an open window".
I'm a relative recent reader (from Europe) and your earlier article also made a big impression on me.
Allow me to share this, that a Ukranian neighbor (she fled, her parents and cat are still back home) sent me. (I now and "talk" to her - with a bit of a language barrier - and donated food and warm blankets to a cat/dog shelter the other day when they had a truck driving eastward. )
It's a 60-minute film from a famous journalist in Ukraine. English subtitles. At the end, I couldn't watch it anymore (Bucha), but I thought it was a must-see. Very interesting and harrowing and impressive, and more. Heart-breaking that this awful war is still going on in our world, on my continent. Please accept my ❤️ for you and your family. And please, do listen to the birds chirping while 'walking' to Odesa; I hope people in Ukraine will soon get spring sounds too. Without mortars and crying and all the sounds of pain.
This was a great article. Good work, and a good message.
I wrote a story myself about humor and war at the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and have since written a similar follow up. I’ll share the original piece here.
Not particularly surprised by your own origins as this dreadful needless horror of destruction, dislocation, and challenge unleashed on and in Ukraine has brought a uniquely resilient, tough, survival-wired people (humor in face of suffering) to the forefront of Global consciousness.
The poignancy for me with this awful disruption heightened when i read a piece a few years back by the excellent writer/journalist Michael Paterniti about a Ukrainian "giant" rumoured to be largest man on earth. The description of the countryside somnolent and radiant with fruit trees and autumn shadows mixed with the bittersweet tale of a freakishly built human who longed as we all do for love, for peace, for acceptance, served as a vulnerable context toi what Putin and his criminal oligarchy have wrought.
All Ukrainians are such giants who have never given up hope and ex-patriot or not, fight the good fight with whatever weapons are available.
Thanks for sharing this, Alex. The last game studio I worked for was based in Ukraine, so I got updates from Kiev. The war is devastating and tragic. I just donated to Voices of Children, too.
Your writing changes when you write about your grandparents and your parents and your childhood. There is tenderness and compassion and despite whatever turmoil exists in the story you are relating, still a great sense of comfort and security that is only found in the people who are home to us. I love reading the stories of Alik, Emma, and your parents. Hard working love brought you here. We are grateful. ♥️
"But still, I bother" is a lovely line. I, too, think of the babushkas first.
Love this vulnerability and a different take on your usual prose 💯✨thanks for sharing Alex