Posted - 04/21/2010 04:56pm
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April, 2010

Sonoma, California


Daily I draw my inspiration from impressions near and far, nourished by a life in dreamscapes here and there. I am attracted to impassioned people like a moth to the light and to places enfolded in tranquility beckoning my arrival. Not unlike a pilgrim whose journey has brought her to yet another fork in the road, I seek solace in the way of any wanderer.  I seek guidance and a broad shoulder to lean on from time to time, don't you?

From mindful ideas to Portugese Fado that mirrors music of the soul, to engaging in conversations of depth infused with dexterity to "turning on a dime," leaving just enough space for an eruption into inexplicable laughter...I am turned on by nimbleness of thought and action.  I look for rainbows everywhere I go to ignite inspiration that knows no beginning and no end. 


And then there is Paris, a city I am always, forever always, happily always, romantically always, inspired by as the most beautiful of all cities in the world...the city of light.  Paris is the state of mind I wander in daily unless interrupted by calls from the mundane.  And even then, it is my Paris state of mind that gets me through.  There are times when the prosaic comes and doesn't know when to leave, like a winter that lasts too long.  When that happens, I escape from the tangled life and in my mind's eye I am in my Paris state of mind....


Inspiration comes and goes.  Inspiration can arrive from any quarter, at any time.  Just this morning I awoke to an interview the English writer, Antonia Fraser, gave to a French journalist in which she spoke about her 33-year grand love affair with her late husband, the English playwright, Harold Pinter.  She described their first meeting as destined. Neither withdrew from that moment.  Their eyes foretold that which was yet to come.  Destiny would not be intercepted.  They both knew they had arrived at an inspired moment....


When she approached him at the end of the dinner party his question was "must you go?"  Her reply was "It is absolutely not essential."

How marvelous was that question and her response?  Brilliantly, over the top, divine as I heard it.  How often is one asked that question?  And what a glorious response!   In the interview that Fraser gave she also noted that "You don't realize the moment of destiny until afterwards...."


Of course not.  How can action and reflection occupy the same space at the same time?  One must follow the other.  In one moment it is action in motion and in another a full stop to recall the improvisational dance that swept one away obliterating the past.  What just happened is a question I often ask after the dance has come to an end.  Truly.  What just happened?


True to my Russian roots, who am I not to believe in destiny?  I was brought up to believe in a destined life in the same way that in the Arabic culture one replies with Inshallah (God willing) at the end of every hope.  I believe in destiny in the way that Lawrence of Arabia revealed "it is written in the stars."  For me there is something quite lovely in letting go to be navigated by the stars:  my GPS, were you to ask how I get from here to there. 


It is easy to be hard.  Easy to say no.  Easy to disbelieve.  Easy to live in an uninspired state of mind.  Easy to live a prosaic life.  Easy to live an unexamined life filled with a multitude of distractions.  Easy to judge another.  Easy to turn off, tune out, stay on the couch.  Easy to be hard until our own heart hardens and magic disappears to find a softer landing elsewhere.  And then what? 


It requires so much more of us to say yes.  To believe.  To live in an inspired state of mind.  To live life passionately.  To live an examined life that brings with it, intentional movements of thought and action.  To not judge another; rather to find acceptance and comfort, even in discomfort.  To forgive ourselves, to forgive others.  To forget and to forgive.  To live and let live. 


I believe in all things love and experience a frisson (shiver) when in the company of one who does not.  I love a romantic, don't you?  I love the idea that at any given moment, while living an ordered life -- the life Antonia Fraser lived the evening she met Harold Pinter -- a dinner party guest whose eyes met mine would ask "must you go?" 


I would be spellbound, I imagine.  Wouldn't you?









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Comment posted by Giovanna Pierine on 05/07/2010

Dear Anya,

Every time I visit your Atelier and discover a new essay, I'm always delighted by what I read. Each piece is always so imaginative, heartfelt and brave, not to mention, beautifully crafted. "Must You Go?" is my favorite thus far. Guess I'll always be a romantic. Write more, and soon!  Blessings, Joanna

Comment posted by Marina Ushakova on 05/13/2010

Anya- you my dear sister- are an old soul at a young age... simple pleasures & a complex mind.  you embrace all things lovely- living in the now- embracing the past, dreaming in the trilogy, the future is your canvas-your mind its conduit. your mind is complex-your heart is pure-your soul reverberates like a stream...

...fluid, ever changing, poetry in motion. you capture the intangible-a mirror, for when I look-you reflect back ten fold, love & light in a place of darkness, you resonate as the hunter Orion-strong, bright, protector of the night sky-until the dawn breaks. you, my sister, are altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful in ways that can not be packaged with a bow, nor contained in a box. you are a priceless gift to all. keep it comin' Marina Ushakova

Comment posted by Donna Colfer on 05/26/2010

Dear Anya, I enjoyed reading "Must You Go?". Once again, I am inspired by you and look forward to our workshop Sunday. I was so moved by the lovely Mariza singing "Chuva"!!! Just beautiful... Love, Donna

(note:  reference to "Sultans of Soul:  Ancient Memories Of A Spiritual Warrior"  Retreat Writing Workshop on 05/30/10)

Comment posted by jane zimmerman on 05/29/2010

I loved the fado music of Chuva. I'm so attracted to the earthiness, joy and rhythm of this music as I am to tango and bossa nova. What calls me is the heartbreaking joyfulness of great music and great writing. Looking forward to the weekend and perhaps touching the "unbearable lightness of being" together. xo, Jane

(note:  reference to "Sultans of Soul:  Ancient Memories Of A Spiritual Warrior"  Retreat Writing Workshop on 05/30/10)


Comment posted by Michael on 05/29/2010

Hello everyone, I am looking forward to a day of refuge and restoration. I look forward to seeing those I know (who plan to attend) and meeting those I do not. Until tommorrow. Michael PS I am enjoying "Must You Go" for it is indeed easy to say no.

(note:  reference to "Sultans of Soul:  Ancient Memories Of A Spiritual Warrior"  Retreat Writing Workshop on 05/30/10)

Comment posted by Jean Arnold Sessions on 08/18/2010

What a perfect piece for me to read prior to this Saturday! Thank you Anya, jean

(note: reference to "Stepping Into the Shoes of the Elder" Retreat Writing Workshop on 08/21/10)