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«Siny Krab» Birth

Синий краб (рисунок Е.И. Стерлиговой)

Siny Krab (picture: E.I. Sterligova)

The literary almanac appeared in the squadron in 1972. There were two famous persons among its developers: President of YNPRESS agency, Sergey Borisovitch Tsymbalenko, and writer Natalia Zorevna Solomko.

Nowadays Sergey and Natalia are living and working in Moscow. In seventies they lived in Sverdlovsk and worked on a voluntary basis as instructors of “Carabela” squadron.

Sergey Tsymbalenko can still recall his first visit to the squadron and work on “Siny Krab” as follows:

– When at the university I was a bit more than twenty years old and decided to visit the famous writer. I was prepared properly wearing a nice suit and comfortable shoes. But then I saw everyone dealing with building yachts except for me standing alone in my suit. There I stood liking at them feeling uneasy. And I said: “Let me help you, guys.” They agreed. So I fell for it. Traditionally, Slava (V.P. Krapivin) began cursing. I started to bear my teeth. Shortly our conversation became informal. When I left “Carabela” late that night my only suit was all in paint and spots. Since that time I stopped wearing glamorous suits. I started to wear simple clothes because I realized that it is not clothes that indicate your social status and respect for a person. Due to our joint actions we made friends with “Carabela”.

The idea of establishing “Siny Krab” leaped in my mind along with Natasha Solomko when our squadron went on a trip with Sergey Novoselov. There we understood that it is not right for the writer to be the leader of “Carabela” unless its members are seriously engaged in literary activities. Then Natasha and I decided to create a literary magazine where children would be able to have their works published.

The most interesting thing was that the children who started to work on the “Krab” were unaware of their abilities.

For example, there were boys in the squadron such as: Serezha Moltchanov and Kostya Subbotko. They always pretended to be like some funny little men. They acted as though they had been some peculiar people or creatures. No one could fully understand what they were actually doing. We suggested they should reveal their secrets and write about them. The children told us about the game they were playing. Moreover, we took pictures and shot a photo-film on how they were doing it.

Other children such as: Serezha Yazykov, Pasha Orlov and Alesha Usov understood that they were good storytellers. Pasha Krapivin is one of our first fairy-tale writers. He used to paint some mysterious towns. He would sit down, take a sheet of paper and start to dream and write. He used to draw some solar or astral universe or something like that. He was only six years old.

We didn’t think about genres in particular. We just wanted it to be interesting. At the beginning we wrote fairy tales, poems and short stories. We also wrote a lot of funny stories. Then came the opinion-based journalism. The wall newspapers could not enclose large works, so we began to publish them in “Siny Krab”.

The artists proved to be very gifted as well and began to work. So everything was in full swing and “Krabs” were published one after another.

The name was prompted by V.P. Krapivin’s song. When we thought of the name of our magazine we remembered this song and used it as epigraph. Then we invented its name.

The first issue was not that big – about twenty pages. Other issues were thicker. Then the question of the cover arose. Nobody knew how to paste it. Then Commodore V. Krapivin said: “I know how to make it.” He took the finished sheets with texts and drawings made on the typewriter. Then he laced and pasted them all and got his almanac ready. In the beginning it was only Commodore who dealt with the cover and after some time we joined him as we realized that we could make it as well.

The same thing happened with the first issues of “Krab.” In the beginning Natashs and I performed editorial duties, and the children were only the authors. Gradually, the children wanted to become chief editors and be responsible for the issues. The magazine issues differed from one another which resulted in even greater interest. The children themselves were so enthusiastic being with their colleagues and creating things that their creativity was verbally seething.

Different traditions and holidays started to appear. We noticed that children enjoyed not only writing poems or fairy tales, but also representing and telling about them to others. They desired to hear the opinions from other authors and simple readers concerning their pieces of work. And it was interesting for them just to work together. Artists and editors would gather round, consider and think everything over together just to make each issue of “Krab” special. Then came the idea of arranging banquets.

We had neither black nor red caviar. But each new issue was accompanied by celebrations.   Everyone would create a performance for this meeting so that there would be never a dull moment. Someone would animate the pages. Others would read poems and sing songs. Different sketches were held and so on. I remember one of the banquets very clearly. There was a huge samovar standing on the table. And there were some strings stretched above the table with dry biscuits hanging on them. It was very convenient sitting around, drinking tea and chatting with the authors. Once you raised your hand you would get yourself a dry biscuit…

We never expected anybody to bring us some materials. Once you see the man who always laughs and tells stories you come over him and just say: “Please, write down one of these stories!” And people would respond. That was the way many materials appeared.


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