Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dialogue And Lack Thereof

So, I'm really doing it. I signed up for the online writing class, and am starting on my second assignment. Yay for me! I am really learning a lot already, they have all kinds of instructions to walk you through the process that help greatly. I am also learning things about myself. Like, that I suck at dialogue. If I try to make a fictional character talk, it comes out awful. And I've realized why. It is because I suck at dialogue in real life.

Now this will come as a surprise to many people, as I am rumored to be a good listener and all that crap. The awful truth, though, is that when you're talking to me, if what you say is boring, then I look you in the eyes, nod, grunt, and wait my turn. If you are really boring, I will go through the same motions while mentally reviewing my to-do list for the day ("LilProgrammer needs new socks; gotta start the laundry; would the guys eat baked potatoes for dinner?" - all while nodding and smiling at you, my friend!) If, on the other hand, what you're telling me is interesting, then I manage to somehow convert it in my head into some sort of cliff notes. After our conversation, I will remember the gist of it; I will not remember your exact words. This must have something to do with a) being a programmer and b) English not being my first language. When I first came here, I tried so hard to make sure I understood everything that's being sad to me, I guess I learned to kind of compress what I heard into an easy-to-understand summary. As a result, I cannot construct a believable dialogue now. So this is what I'm going to start doing: really listening to what people tell me. Obviously, this will require a lot of chatting with coworkers during work hours; but that's okay, I can do that. Something tells me they won't mind, either.

Another thing I wanted to mention, and this one is serious, by now you have probably all heard of the Russian/Georgian war. I spent the last week trying frantically to find a shred of accurate media coverage. Everything I read sounds sort of half-assed. I read the Time magazine last night and was horrified. Okay, I get it that the media has to distort what happened, but can it at least not sound racist and derogatory? The bear is coming out of hibernation? What the fuck?! And the Russian media is no better. After a lot of reading between the lines and talking to people I trust, here's what I concluded for myself.

There were three sides in this conflict. America being the third one.

There were no right sides in this conflict. Everybody screwed up, be it by accident or intentionally.

This is turning very quickly into a conflict between Russia and America, or, Heaven forbid, a new cold war.

As a Russian-born American, this saddens me to no end. It's like your close family members, your children, or your parents, at each other's throats threatening to beat the crap out of each other. It is scary. I had been naive enough to believe this was all a thing of the past, years long forgotten when I was an elementary-school kid. No such luck.

Big politics is a nasty thing; it is all about control over money and resources and power and world domination, and unfortunately it is only a matter of time before it trickles down to the ordinary citizens and spills over into their daily lives and the way they treat each other. As for me, I will continue being what I am, writing what I write, hopefully visiting my friends in Russia, and praying for peace.

The Goldie has spoken at 7:46 AM

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