Nobody had died there, an elderly woman from Orşova recently told the journalist. Nobody had died there, it was all legends.
“It’s been more than 26 years since the Revolution, and Romania doesn’t remember them anymore. Or doesn’t want to remember,” writes Marina Constantinoiu, the journalist at Mişcarea de Rezistență who, together with her colleague Istvan Deak, is attempting to salvage a piece of history that everyone seems intent on burying.
Years ago, while studying for my US citizenship exam, I paused over the words “the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. Because I grew up in Europe during the time of popular uprisings against communist regimes, I was used to words such as freedom and justice and equality in revolutionary speech, so the pursuit of happiness sounded like it didn’t belong in a declaration of independence from tyranny and oppression.
The Declaration of Independence (1776) – Wikipedia
It wasn’t the first time I wondered how had those Founding Fathers been so enlightened to consider the mental health of their people at a time of war and disease and superstition. Today we have counselors and self-help and wellness support groups, but they didn’t, back in 1776, yet Jefferson thought it was important to put those fine words in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Continue reading
“I made the story complex because that’s how life is. It’s very complex. And in the middle of it, you laugh.” – Mindy Halleck
Mindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest novelist, short story writer, blogger and writing instructor. After her short story received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest 76th Annual Competition Mainstream Literary Short Story (2007), Mindy developed it into Return to Sender, her debut novel to be released by Booktrope in October 2014. Mindy’s published work includes personal essays, one non-fiction book and hundreds of articles based on her Romance & Money series. Continue reading
Rewriting a manuscript requires reading other writers and learning from them new ways of using the language—unthinkable ways, uncomfortable ways, unlikely ways. This is a quick list of what I took away from Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22. Continue reading
Once upon a time, there lived a king and a queen, both young and beautiful, but heartbroken because they couldn’t have children. They had tried everything, they went to doctors and philosophers, astrologers and soothsayers—all for nothing. They had lost hope when, one day, they heard of an old medicine man from a village not far from the castle, so they went to see him.
“Whatever you’re looking for,” the medicine man told the king and the queen, “it will only bring you sorrow.” Continue reading
“Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts!”
“To this day,” Radu Codrescu said in 2006, “I have a feeling of guilt every time I cross a border. Even when I go from the US to Canada—and I have Canadian citizenship—or come back here [to Redmond, Washington], I feel guilty of something. As if I were doing something wrong, something illegal. I have this feeling every time. It never changed, it never diminished. I have the same feeling of guilt as that first time when I left Romania behind. I was happy to leave [in 1990], but I felt like I was doing something illegal.”
“Let’s go look for them right now,” Radu said.
“No,” the officer said, “you stay here. We’ll look for them. We know how to look for people like you.”
OOCL Challenge, the transatlantic ship Radu Codrescu, 30, was on board of in January 1993, was heading into a storm, and Radu’s friends, Paul and Claudiu, might have also been on board, hiding inside a container and unaware that a storm could kill them. Continue reading
Even though they now knew how to get on a ship to Canada, Radu Codrescu, 30, and his two Romanian buddies, Paul and Claudiu, still had one huge risk to consider: that the captain of a transatlantic would throw them overboard if he discovered them. Hubert, the port security officer who had showed them how to elude the guards and board a ship, told them that he knew of captains who threw the stowaways into the frozen ocean waters rather than pay the high fines that the Canadian authorities imposed on those who brought people into their country illegally. Continue reading
Early Christmas morning in 1992, the port of Antwerp (Anvers), Belgium was bright with blinking lights of all colors, with flashlights and spotlights and searchlights. At 5 a.m., police, firefighters, paramedics, TV crews, and curious people were all waiting on the main dock for the door of one particular cargo shipping container to open. And when it did, three men walked out into the blinding light: Radu Codrescu and his two companions, Paul and Doru. Their clothes were stained with oil, they all had week-old beards, and they looked weak and pale. One of the three men, Doru, was in pain with acute tonsillitis from living for a week inside a freezing freight container, but when he saw the commotion, he forgot all about his pain and tried to flee the scene. Continue reading