Déjà vu all over again.

As I began a new novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, (and a painting), I felt like I was in a flashback.

In the novel the main character, Count Alexander Rostovis, has been sentenced to live out the rest of his life on “house arrest” in the Metropol hotel in Moscow. Then,  we learned cases of  COVID-19 are spiking.  This means Doug and I will be under virus arrest for the foreseeable future.

Ironic, right?  However, Count Rostovis’ resolve seems oh so constructive for these crazy times:

“. . . if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” ― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

Whew . . . get a grip Barbara!

After all, a new order of canvases arrived, and I have loads of paints; plus a public library full of books I’ve been meaning to read. Had it not been for the spring’s quarantine, would I have ever completed almost 100 paintings, and listened to over a dozen books?

Cue Judy Garland, and sing: Look for the Silver Lining!

But there have been many slivers of silver in these isolated times! I have a deepened sense of appreciation for simple pleasures! Also, I am grateful for daily health and strength. Have I said that before?

So, today waiting for the remnant of yet another hurricane to rain itself out,  I listened to the novel. Count  Rostovis and all the characters were on a much shorter tether than mine. Reading about their lives under Stalin  lends perspective when I am tempted to complain about the pandemic or the election.

I remember a book I read a few years ago, Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy, by another Douglas Smith. Another reminder how grateful I am to be an American! 

What we need are critical lovers of America — patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it. ~Hubert H. Humphrey

 And I painted . . .

First, I tried  to paint fog – based on a photo by Doug’s cousin — which wasn’t as easy as I imagined. But since I feel like I am in a fog, it made sense.



from photo to painting

Next I adapted  something by Nicolas Tarkhoff. He died about the time the new novel begins, and his real life was more like a Russian novel that the one to which I listen!  ( Wiki on Nicolas Tarkhoff)


“If you are ever in doubt, just remember that unlike adults, children want to be happy. So they still have the ability to take the greatest pleasure in the simplest things.”  ― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow


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