I struggled again, coming up with my 23rd entry in the A to Z blog challenge. There wasn’t anything obvious in Dust to Blood that would work for a W entry–until I took a step back with the help of my husband. He was right to point out that the backdrop for this story is the end of the Cold War. There were a lot of heady emotions as first the Berlin Wall fell, and then slowly, the remaining heavy duty hard-liners crumbled under the desire of their populations to pursue more open and democratic politics.
The Cold War kicked off in earnest at the end of WWII and found its name via the talents of George Orwell in the British paper, The Tribune. It was the formative back-drop for the Baby Boom generation, and by the time Gen Xers like me came around, it was such a fixture as to have entrenched itself in the collective psyche to such a degree nobody expected the world to be able to exist in anything other than this bipolar state.
I lived behind the Iron Curtain from 1978-1984, so most of my childhood memories involve the complexities of crossing very tense borders following specific protocols (“Don’t show the visa! The US doesn’t recognize this as an international border crossing!”). In Moscow, this was less of an issue than watching the new US Embassy being built–with the understanding that the contractors were embedding listening devices in every nook and cranny. My young experiences told me there was no such thing as privacy or secrets. The Iron Curtain fell, finally, when I was half-way through college, so the lessons of Perestroika and Glasnost made an equally deep impression.
All of this exposure has lived on in my dreams over the years, and is how I recognized the setting of my dream when Ivan and Anne first introduced themselves to me. My intermittent Russian lessons for you come from what I osmosed as a 2nd and 3rd grader. And the bogey-man of the KGB and other secret informants are partially brought to you by the fact that even now there is a Stasi dossier available in Berlin that documents that segment of my life.
The fact that there are still closed, totalitarian regimes, then, begs for the ongoing question to be answered: How are they maintaining power when logic indicates they should fail? So I’ll ask that question in books 2 and 3 of the series and see how it plays out in China and North Korea. 😉