Traveling Library: The Free World

Minnesotans: Do you listen to MPR News? It reminds me of watching old historical movies where families would crowd around their wireless to listen to the evening news or Orphan Annie (what is that, do you know what that program's about?).

But, you know those member drives where they ask you to donate for days and days on end? I would be playing a holier-than-thou card if I told you they didn't annoy the marrow out of me, cause they do; although, I understand they are a necessary evil.  I used to change the station...but the only other one I listen to is Classical...which is also operated by MPR, so I was screwed either way. Well my opinion began to change when I got a job that gave me some income in combination with this huge national budget debate.  I thought, "a lot of people need public services, they couldn't subsist without them" - things like reduced housing, food stamps, and a ton of other things our government pays for.  Yet, I also believe that a government shouldn't turn into a welfare state and that it can produce a society incapable of escaping poverty. 

image: Norman Rockwell

This is a tricky stick that can really only be relieved through personal responsiblity, volunteerism, and God's grace.  What I mean by all of this is that now that I could finally help pay for the free, totally awesome and valuable, service of public radio (and I'm an avid watcher of public television...Masterpiece theatre anyone?), then I should help pay for it.  Really. 

And they don't always support my beliefs or showcase my favorite leaders, they certainly lean to the political left when I'm more a moderate conservative ... whatever.  Its good radio.  Its especially not less-than-original-music blaring to techno beats that encourages the objectifying of women and societal stereotypes. I'm just sayin' - KDWB ... I'll pass. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob - I love to get my groove on - I just don't care to listen to bad music that encourages me to believe I'm not good enough as is.

So I think its important to take responsiblity, even if its a small amount - and MPR isn't the government, so I have a say where my money goes. Its not always fun, but without these programs the entertainment industry would be left up to reality shows, screeching pre-teens dumping spagetti down their pants and the endless supply of Forensic Cop shows.   Not terrible in small quantities, but enough is enough.

My real intention of writing this post (I know, it took me awhile) is to say that while I was listening to an endless barage of pledge pleas, one of the MPR News hosts mentioned an upcoming book by David Bezmozgis.  David was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1973. In 1980 he immigrated with his parents to Toronto, where he lives today.  He wrote this historical novel called, The Free World, and I'm really excited to read it.  Its about "Soviet Jews who have escaped to freedom through a crack in the Iron Curtain. Among the thousands who have landed in Italy to secure visas for new lives in the West are the members of the Krasnansky family -- three generations of Russian Jews." 

Ever since visiting Latvia and Estonia this summer and playing the part of a re-patriated Russian artist in a Northwestern play, I've been quite curious about the lives of communist families.  Its a part of history I've never explored and it was still tangible in the cities we visited - in the architecture, the music, their faces, their art.  So somber.  I want to know more.  They're still persecuted. 

After I heard his story, I did some research and found out that David was doing a book reading at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis - how cool is that!? Well, I missed it. But there are so many other cool things happening at this place, I tell you!  Here's the thing about not being in school anymore - I miss learning.  A lot.  Its not prepackaged - you have to go and find it for yourself.  So this Loft thing: I think its a pretty good idea.  I'm going to check it out, wanna come? Here's their calendar of events.

images via here