Dear Reader, as you know for the last 4 years I have been writing a biography of Angelica Balabanoff. So who is Angelica and why did I want to write about her? Born in 1878 in a dazzlingly rich family in Chernigov, Angelica broke ties with her parents and left for Europe, to become one of the leading female socialists of the European labor movement at the beginning of the 20th century. She was famous in Italy for “discovering” Mussolini, when he was an unknown socialist, and being the first person who “polished and educated” the future Il Duce. Only 5 feet tall, plum and unattractive, she was rumored to be a lover of Mussolini, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. For a long time, it was thought that Mussolini’s eldest daughter Edda was the daughter of Angelica. Angelica returned to Russia at the beginning of the October Revolution. Highly respected within the European socialist movement, her mere presence in Russia during the Revolution served as real publicity for what was happening in the country. After becoming one of the few women to occupy high-ranking positions within the all-male Bolshevik government, Angelica fled Russia, disagreeing with Lenin’s politics. She was accused by European and American secret services of promoting communist propaganda and by the Soviets of becoming a traitor. A brilliant translator, she spoke thirteen languages. An excellent speaker, she gathered crowds of men and women, addressing the most daring subjects at the time when women stayed at home. A constant traveler, […]
Having a hard time advancing with my book – How to come up with the right outline? Four years ago I decided to write a biography of the Red woman, whose name I’d rather keep secret for the moment. About 18 months after a long period of research, I started to write. Once I knew what my book was going to be about (see Red Writing I) I had to find the right structure for the book. It proved to be just as difficult as knowing what I was writing about. I’m on my fourth draft and I’m still not entirely sure if the outline I have fits my idea. At the beginning I did not want to write this biography in a chronological order. I wanted to make it different. But after three different drafts, the book was still not holding together. My heroine had travelled a lot, moved to a new apartment every two years and lived in different countries. So a non-chronological book would be confusing for a reader who is not already familiar with her life. I have finally opted for a chronological order of events. Trying different outlines helped to nourish the book and also helped me to understand better why I was writing it. For a project that has taken 4 tears this may not be much progress, but it is progress nonetheless, which brings me closer to completing my book.