Excerpted from a testimony presented at the International Literary and Publication Conference by Svetlana Ivanova, editor of The War Cry in Russia.If I had met The Salvation Army in my childhood I would have come to God by a different way – more easy more smooth, without the barriers which my childhood environment formed.
I was brought up in a children’s collective where we were trained for life in the “ideal future” which communism would bring. I was very unhappy and suffered greatly in both mind and body. These experiences deformed my soul, heart and mind.
As a child I stood out from my contemporaries. I was different from them. I wanted to run away - and I did, I ran into writing.
I don’t know when I first found a piece of paper and a pen. With these ordinary tools I began to construct my own world. This world was not alien to me. It loved me and accepted me. I had plenty of friends there and many sympathisers. It was so nice to be shut alone in my room, describing this world, assigning the roles for every character to play. There was the same style in my stories as in my real life – the enjoyable and the tragic, the good and the bad. But always in my world justice conquered. There was compassion for the weak. In short, there was virtue.
Creative work became my passion. It is true that a weak person can be a giant when he or she is being creative. At the moment of creativity the writer is at one with the universe. What power guides the hand on the paper? It is God. I understand this now although I was not aware of it at the time I began to write.
Two things have been important to me through all of my life – literature and God. For much of my life, literature came first. I was so much satisfied by literature; so full. I was not concerned with the suffering, depression, fear and solitude of other people. I had my own shell and I needed nothing outside of myself.
Then about four years ago, I began to experience a strange metamorphosis. The process of writing began to lose its charm for me. I was writing many scenarios, plays, stories and a novel which was highly appreciated by a famous contemporary writer. It was ready to be published but in the flash of a moment it became uninteresting to me. My hand did not want to write, to describe the subject surrounding my life.
END PART ONE of TWO
Excerpt: RETURN TO RUSSIA WITH FLAGS UNFURLED