Saw my friend Tom after work. He is just back from another trip to St. Petersburg, where he saw Elena Shvarts, who is living on an air mattress in her burnt-out apartment. She lost a lot of personal things & art work, but most of her manuscripts are safe. She is a bird-like (I mean really bird-like - under 5 ft, under 100 lbs) woman in her mid-50s. Her mother died a few months before the apt. fire.
Tom told some good Petersburg stories. Just before he left for there, he was in line at a car repair shop, and ahead of him in line was the other Tom Epstein in Providence, whom he had never met, who was also having a similar problem with his car. This is a Petersburgian happening.
Tom lent me a copy of Elena's prose book, Vidimaia Storona Zhizni (I will translate later). According to Tom, there's a story about me in it, disguised as a character named "Silver" (since she thinks of me as H. Gold). Looking forward to trying to read this...
[p.s. who knows, possibly she was referring to. . . - or maybe. . .]