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Saturday, April 23, 2011

A New Novel, Part 201 They Must Confess Each Other

A New Novel, Part 201 They Must Confess Each Other

For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.

Aksinya’s first supper in the Ecclesia is a simple one—that’s all they have to eat.  This is a friendly place for Aksinya.   Still, the atmosphere is tense because of Aksinya, and she has questions…
After supper, Aksinya and Ekaterina cleaned the dishes and the kitchen while Father Makar and Dobrushin spoke quietly at the table.  Ekaterina pushed the hair away from her face with the back of her hand and whispered, “They would speak until the morning hours if I let them.”
“You will not let them?”
“Makar is my husband.  I have work in the morning and he has work too.  It would be foolish for me to go to a cold bed and foolish for him to not be able to accomplish his work in the morning.”
“I see.”
“You have to look after a husband just as you would look after a boy—they are just older boys.”
“I see.”
Father Makar glanced up, “Just what are you telling her Katyushenka?”
“About how foolish men are…”
Aksinya stared at her.
Father Makar frowned.
Ekaterina put up her finger, “Tut, tut, don’t say a word Makaruska.  You wouldn’t want Father Dobrushin to have to take your confession more than once this week.”
Aksinya still stared at her, “They must confess to one another?”
“Of course they must confess.  They must confess more than anyone.  Everyone sins, but if you wish to help others, you must be first willing to help yourself.”
“I see.”

Aksinya is accomplishing the work Father Dobrushin set her to.  She is helping Ekaterina in the kitchen.  We have moved into an entirely different sphere.  Aksinya has accepted this as completely natural.  She is learning.  She will get more education than she might have expected.  I wish to get you to think about the men and woman who serve in this place.  They are not automations.  We have already seen they have different thoughts especially about Aksinya.  There are more differences and similarities.  These are important to mark—this is part of building characters within a novel.

Father Makar and Father Dobrushin are discussing thing.  The what is not important.  Note that I don’t tell you that they are in a discussion—I show you this.  They spoke quietly at the table.  Then Ekaterina gives you more: “They would speak until the morning hours if I let them.”  We discover the balance of who is in charge of the rectory.  This should have been evident before.  It becomes very evident now.  Ekaterina will not let the men stay up all night even if they wished. 

In this very short exchange and description, the friendship between Makar and Dobrushin is very evident—you don’t stay up all night in discussion with those you don’t like.  Ekaterina is the practical one.  Perhaps this is somewhat stereotypical, but we know it is true.  Ekaterina says much in her simple statement: “Makar is my husband.  I have work in the morning and he has work too.  It would be foolish for me to go to a cold bed and foolish for him to not be able to accomplish his work in the morning.”  You should be able to tease much out of this. 

Aksinya’s answer leaves us unsure of how much she really understands, but Aksinya doesn’t understand much about love or taking care of others.  This is the contrast I want you to see.  First, that of friends, and second, that of lovers.

Ekaterina goes even further in her explanation.  It is certainly something Aksinya has likely never heard before.  Ekaterina’s straightforward way of speaking is in some ways similar to Aksinya and in many ways not similar.  Again, Aksinya’s response doesn’t let us know if she understands at all.

Fater Makar finally notices that Ekaterina is speaking about him and Father Dobrushin.  He uses a Russian diminutive for Ekaterina.  Russian friends and lovers address each other in diminutives.  Ekaterina playfully tells her husband she is telling Aksinya how foolish men are.  Notice Aksinya’s response—she had no idea this is what Ekaterina was telling her.  We guessed this.

Don’t you love Ekaterina’s reply?  She is playful and fun.  She isn’t afraid to tease her too serious husband.  Do you remember that Father Makar called Father Dobrushin too serious when they first met Aksinya?  Father Makar also has a serious side.  Ekaterina is the balance for him—she makes him less serious.  This then allows me to bring into the conversation the main point I wished to make—that of confession. 

The priests confess one another—this is an important and recurring thing they must accomplish.  This is what Aksinya must see and what I wish you to see.  This is part of her learning.  They must confess more than anyone.  If you wish to help others, you must first help yourself.  Tomorrow, Aksinya has questions.

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