Do you remember these words: "I have a dream!"? These words are from famous public speech of Martin Luter King.
We all have dreams because dreaming is simple. I have something more valuable. I have a friend!
To be more specific, I have a female friend. We are not like-minded people. To be honest, our friendship is based on the constant fighting.
If I like something she always criticizes it. After that she offers me something. For example a book or an article. I look through it and understand that it is rubbish. Sometimes I say it frankly, sometimes I try to keep silence despite the desire to cry "Are you really unable to see that?! It is clear that it's a crap!" But I stay silent mostly because I know her taste. I try to suppress my anger.
But last time I changed my strategy because she went too far and stepped out of the line. A few weeks ago she sent me one article about evil men who had cheated on their wives. In this list were included Carl Jung, Alexander Blok, Albert Einstein, Leo Landau, Ivan Bunin, Fedor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy. She knew that the last was my hero. It was the company of such distinguished men with Nobel prize winners between them and such a dirty article!
I must admit that it happened after my coming back from Odessa where I spent my vacation this summer. I could tell you about city, seaside and sightseeing which I had but I would like tell you just only about my few last hours before my departure. I was at Privoz market. There were sellers of old books there. I found and bought 22 of Leo's Tolstoy books. I paid 10 grivnas for each book. It is less than a dollar.
And after that I received an article about Tolstoy's unfaithfulness to his wife... It was an outrage! Many times I told her about my impression on Tolstoy's novels. There was no reaction about subjects and so deep interest to unfaithfulness.
I have a friend! Or maybe it is time to say "I had a friend!" because I decided to get revenge on her.
I explain you why Tolstoy is my hero. I would like to say about his way.
He is not an icon for me. I see him as a self-made man. His novels were brilliant not because his talent only. He worked hard. For example Tolstoy wrote the story "Childhood" in four versions, some chapters of "War and Peace" - seven, "Anna Karenina" was performed in twelve versions, and the beginning of the last novel "Resurrection'" - twenty! There were places in "Hadji Murad" which were rewritten 132 times. Tolstoy's editors said that this novel could be presented in two versions with different characters and subjects.
Fellow Toastmasters! I would like to ask you. How many times are you ready to rethink and rewrite your speech before delivering? How many versions of your speech do you prepare usually? One, two, five or maybe 132? It is even difficult to imagine. But Tolstoy did it.
It is known that he had passion for many things besides writing. His study of foreign languages may be interesting for us. I found information that he knew 13 or 15 foreign languages: French, German, English, Polish, Serbian, Italian, Latin, Hebrew, the ancient Greek language and other.
In the Internet I found the audio recordings of Tolstoy which were made at the writer's home in Yasnaya Polyana when he was 81 years old. On these recordings Tolstoy speaks French, German, English and Russian. All these passages Tolstoy translated by himself. In French he sounds very well. It corresponds with witnesses of his contemporaries. They said about his fluent French. Then Tolstoy speaks in German. It sounds worse than French. But English is bad. Tolstoy talks with many mistakes and his speech is barely understandable without text. I suppose he had no practice and used English just for writing the letters. I think Tolstoy knew other foreign languages even worse than English.
One year before these recordings when Tolstoy was 80 he tried to study the Japanese language. But he could not get this language and quitted. So not in all matters Tolstoy was successful. But in his passion for foreign languages studies I see something more important: his aspiration to pursuit new knowledge and to be focused on the learning process. After all, how many 80-year-olds have you seen who want to learn Japanese? Or such speakers?
We should follow Tolstoy's example.
But let's get back to the subject. I decided to get revenge. Revenge became my dominant emotion. But how could I take it? To say that this article is just a false statement damaging Tolstoy's reputation? I thought about it and started rereading Tolstoy's biography. Then I found new information about him in books which I've bought in Odessa and other sources. After that I concluded: Tolstoy doesn't need my defense! I am sure if I tried to defend his reputation I would receive a few articles more about why Tolstoy is bad.
I have a friend! Would you like to know what I did? I got revenge through writing new post in my blog. If you know it was Leo Tolstoy's birthday yesterday. I wrote and put my post about this man of genius and what we can learn from him. The second post about Leo Tolstoy is ready as well. I don't know whether I would do it without my dear female friend. Thanks to her you can read my writings in my social networks accounts.
So, fellow members and guests! Keep your friends close but your female friends closer.