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Dostoevsky: My other favorite Russian

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First came Glazunov, then came Dostoevsky.

It would be insincere to say that Dostoevsky doesn't influence me as much because he wasn't a composer. Quite the contrary! Dostoevsky inspired a great surge in creative writing interest in myself, and I came to love his writing style besides his characters, themes and story lines. He's the single greatest influence on me as a writer.

Biography of Dostoevsky

Quotes from his writings, as he often used his characters to divulge his ideas, or sometimes contradict them insightfully

Great works include:
  • Notes from Underground (1864)
  • Crime and Punishment (1866)
  • The Idiot (1868)
  • The Brothers Karamazov (1879)
  • Numerous short (often comedic) stories

Happy Birthday to a great Russian soul!

An excerpt of my latest story that I would call the most Dostoevskian:

“Um... Miss Irina Mikhailovna I presume?” he stood a few paces from her and did a small bow.
“Yes... and you must be Mr. Kazansky?” the petite, dark-eyed woman curtsied politely.
“It is. I’m glad that we have met now because I was sad not to have given a personal compliment to you the night of your performance.”
“Oh, you mean that? Yes, thank you,” she said somewhat carelessly.
“You are a very lovely dancer.”
“Yes. That’s what they all say.”
“Who says?” he frowned.
“The ones like you,” she smiled almost contemptuously.
“Who am I like?”
“All the ones before you.”
“You need not speak enigmatically to me. I appreciate your skill.”
“Sure you do,” she rolled her eyes and started stepping past him. Sasha immediately felt himself going pale.
“Wait... alright, I’ll be honest with you... you have a lovely smile.”
Irina Mikhailovna stopped walking and looked at him. Her eyes were like black embers.
“Is that all?” she said softly in a rather indifferent way.
“Are you playing hard to get?” Sasha grimaced.
“Why would I want you?” she looked him up and down. For the first time that night he felt dreadfully self-conscious, unlike anything he had experienced in months.
“You’d want me for my honesty.”
“I’ve yet to see it from you.”
Sasha gritted his teeth. “What do you want then?”
Irina Mikhailovna looked down at the floor in a bored way. “I don’t really know.”
“Did you see my invitation to my recital?”
“I did.”
“Did you come?”
“I did.”
“Was that not honesty enough?”
“The invitation or your performance?”
“Both, I guess,” Sasha looked down at the floor.
“You’re right... that was pretty honest, sincere playing... but I’m not into the artist type...”
“Really now? We can discuss it.”
“What kinds of men I prefer?”
“What kinds of men you don’t.”
Irina Mikhailovna’s eyes flashed for a moment. Sasha saw her working her teeth while her mouth was firmly in a frown.
“Alright... I’ll give you a chance,” she gave him a forced smile and gave her his hand. Ana Pavlovna was red with angry shame and hid the fact she had been watching by darting into the dining room. Irina Mikhailovna promptly went to a servant and picked up her glass as Sasha did his.
“I expected someone... a bit different,” Sasha confessed as he sat down at a sofa with her.
“Oh? Someone more like the Bluebird character? Don’t we all wish we could play the characters we were meant to be?”
“What, would you have preferred to be Maleficent?”
Irina Mikhailovna laughed which sounded more like a bark. “No silly! But a woman with character development, maybe a coming of age story. There are few ballets like that, if anything.”
“Plot is important to you just as much as the dancing?”
“Of course.”
“Maybe one day I’ll write such a ballet, though I fear I’ll have little say in the plot I would be commissioned.”
Irina Mikhailovna took a sip from her glass and didn’t respond.
“You seemed perfect for the role though. I would honestly love to see you again. That is the truth.”
“Would you like to see me in any other ways?” she looked at him slyly.
“I... I would not be opposed to that, but only at your permission.”
The ballerina again barked with her strange laugh and took another long sip of champagne, keeping Sasha on hold. She sighed more heavily now than before.
“Enough of that. I’d like to ask you a few questions now.”
“Fire away.”
“How old are you?”
“Good, I am 24. Are you married?”
“Of course not! Why would I be having this conversation?” he grimaced.
“Oh I meet those types sometimes.”
Sasha pretended like he didn’t hear that and took of sip of champagne instead.
“Are you rich?”
“I’m quite wealthy. I have my own personal wealth as well as the advantage of living with my family still.”
“You still live with your family?” she was amused.
“Yes. It is large enough home to give me almost a full floor to myself.”
“Impressive. Does your mother call you down to dinner after you’ve been working on some such Grande Prelude?”
“Grande Etude,” Sasha corrected with an edge in his tone.
“You’re right. A Grande Prelude is a silly idea. Unlike what you wrote, and take that as a compliment. I’ve heard outright rubbish sometimes from the Conservatory composers these days. No flesh, all fluff. Anyhow, answer my question.”
“I dine with my parents and younger sister 4 out of 7 nights, and others are with friends.”
“What a social man you must be!”
“No, not really. I have many acquaintances with much in common, but... very few intimate friends,” Sasha frowned.
“Same. Life is too short to spread all your attention out on everyone.”
“And life is also too short to be losing the friends one already has.”
“What? Are you implying that I’m uncongenial?”
“Not a single person greeted you when you walked in.”
Irina Mikhailovna finished her glass and had nothing more to preoccupy herself with.
“They’re all brats. I’m not like one of them.”
“Oh really?”
“Yes really!” she became more insistent. “I’m not out to harass anyone! I’m here to improve my career, and to have some fun along the way, but they don’t like that I don’t follow along with them in frivolous activities.”
“Such as?”
“Trying to hook poor bachelors like you who don’t know the ropes.”
“Well thank you for your sympathy,” Sasha grimaced.
“You’re welcome... I have one more question for you.”
“Go on.”
“... Do you still like me now?”
The question was so outright that Sasha stared at her in shock. But Irina Mikhailovna didn’t mock his reaction but looked at him with expectant and penetrating eyes.
“You seem to be different from the rest... but you have something quite a bit in common with the others. You are outspoken, childish, and frankly you look just like the others.”
Irina Mikhailovna’s jaw dropped slightly and her eyes went cold, but Sasha didn’t see it. He was in too good of a mood and once he finished his champagne glass he got up without another word and went looking for another. Ana Pavlovna quickly found him again while he was unoccupied and followed him about. Irina Mikhailovna stared into space with her empty glass cupped in her hands.