Kikinda Short 07

July 4th & 5th – Kikinda, National Library “Jovan Popović”

July 6th & 7th – Belgrade, Students Park (Studentski park)

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Short with the Surprise Guest Vladimir Arsenijević

Do you find yourself surprised while writing?

Of course. Writing is mostly composed of surprises and of deliberate or, rather, utterly unintentional betrayal of original plans and intentions, especially if the person is concerned with the broader forms when all the planning and thinking ahead is simply unavoidable. But it is this process of betrayal is what is most exciting in the writing – the moment when the stories break away from the hands of those who create and begin, practically, quite to write themselves. The moment in which the writer starts to feel himself merely as a mediator and not as the creator, is the most unusual and, for me personally, the most valuable throughout this complex art.

Is it possible to defeat boredom by writing?

It long seemed to me that the very process of writing does not refine, and that only later encounter with the result does. However, last year I really started to enjoy the intense process of creation. I deal with issues that require a lot of research and learning in advance, now more than before when I mostly wrote about the very real and directly from the stomach. The story raises issues and questions in front of me which I solve with a passion and thereby constantly learn. I never get bored.

Short with Martin Felder

What makes a writer different from other people?

A writer believes that it makes sense to offer people an artistic experience through her or his work. Apart from that, she or he is like everybody: intelligent, confused, just, unfair, humorous, shady, adorable, sexy. You wouldn’t even recognize her or him in a crowd of people.

If given a task to sell books of short stories, what would your story be?

an argument to sell a book of short stories, that normally works quite well, is: “a lot of people, who didn’t buy this book of short stories, died or fell from elephants”.

Short with Cosmin Perta

Where is the start and where the end of writing?

There is no such thing as the start and the end of writing. The writing begins immemorial times and starts with every single piece of writing and, in the best perspective, never* ends, or, in the unfortunate way may as well eventually end with me.

*this “never” event must be calculated sometime between now and Armageddon

Is it possible to find yourself attached to a person from a short story?

Well, for me it is quite sure this may happen; firstly because I only write about persons I’m already attached somehow, and secondly because most of my literary fantasies imply changing the misunderstood life of some secondary characters.

Short with Vladimir Arsenić

What would be a success in writing?

Success in writing is always a double-edged sword. In my opinion the greatest success is when someone completely unknown says that what you have written has tremendously influenced him/her. Oposed to that stands a deceptive success in a form of literary prizes, awards, scholarships and other knick-knack that make the “literary life”. Writing is very intimate act, and for me the success is when your text make someone to react, and to make changes, while there’s no one belouds you. Of course, it’s nice to receive the awards because, partly, they increase scope, and it is crutial to people who write. However, real success, the one in which it is possible to find a shelter, and that is long lasting is made of small steps in a narrow circle of communication, and of enjoyment among devotees.

Are there any stories that you write merely to be left to “rest in the drawer” without publishing?

Of course there are. Although writing involves communication and requires the reader/s, there are still stories, not necessarily personal and not necessarily inappropriate, you must retain in the drawer to languish for famous Horatio’s seven years, and some of them never leave the drawer. Laying the story side, the writer does not do anything in contrary to his vocation. The story that is worth, we know from many examples, it can not be removed. It will eventually break out on the scene. Some things you just have to hide in order to be visible. The stories layed aside in the drawer and forget about them, apparently, didn’t even supposed to be written.

Short with Edi Matić

How do your closest friends to look at your writing?

I have several completely different circles of close friends. some of them consider books as a very good stand for the regulation position of the TV on a shelf. They are not at all interested in my writing. The other ones have knowledge of literature based and reduced to the list of reading of their children, and since I can not be found on this list, I am considered to be of no particular importancy as the author. But there are the third ones that follow my writing with great interest and enthusiasm and are to point that out wherever they can.

Is it possible to find yourself attached to a person from a short story?

Well, as the author, I have no need to be attached to a person from a short story, because the connection is already established on the basis of some imagined or real personality that somehow crawled into me.

I always hope that readers can be bind to them, that they were touched with some character traits and some familiar situation in which I have put them as the author. If the reader really succeeds in binding to a figure within a short story in so little a time as the duration of one – we’re done! I would consider that the greatest success of the story.

Short with Carles el Saure

Do you have any recommendation for reading?

I lattely have read “The natural histories” by Catalan writer Joan Perucho and “Llefre de tu” by Majorcan writter Biel Mesquida and I recommend both. I also feel that Homer’s Odissey is a wonderful novelty.

What would be a success in writing?

In a first stage, success is communication between the writer and himself. Next to that, communication between the writer and the reader. Finally, success is completed when this communication leads to a reality full of surprising doors.

Short with Borja Bagunyà

Is writing a pleasant or a tedious process?

It’s neither of both, I think. Not pleasant, definitively, because writing involves everything you are. And everything means fear, madness, neurotic and even kind-of-psychopathic moments. It doesn’t mean getting better in a therapeutic sense – at least at some points of the process-, but getting sick. Writing supposes exploring that part of one self that has no place in everyday life. And by so doing, it becomes an extremely intense, fascinating and almost unbearable process. So it’s not tedious either. I’d say it’s inevitable.

Is it possible to find yourself attached to a person from a short story?

Mario Vargas Llosa used to say that Madame Bovary was more important in his life (personal life) than lots of “actual” people. I totally agree with that. There is an intensity in fictional characters you don’t usually find in actual people. Maybe that’s why we read. Maybe the difference between fictional characters and empirical people is that the latter are more difficult to read, that is, to make comprehensible, whereas fictional characters don’t usually waste your time, don’t spend three hours watching crab in the TV or, at least, don’t tell you every detail of those three hours. Fictional characters are a existentially concentrated versions of ourselves. So the question is: when you feel attached to a character, ¿what are you really being attached to? ¿Do you feel attached to the promise of this kind of concentrated existence? ¿Or to the feeling you are able to recognize in the character and, thanks to that, in yourself? Whichever the answer is, an important reason to write and to read is precisely that: to fell with, and within, the characters.

Is your work influenced by the praise of readers?

I’d like to think it’s not. Or that’s it’s only influenced by the kind of reader I imagine actually reads what I write. But I’m not sure that reader exists or, in case it does, that is the kind of reader that reads my work. In any case, a writer must be ready to be forgotten, misunderstood, underrated and unpublished, if needed. In other words, he must not write for the already existent reader, but to create a new one.

Spritzer or beer?

Beer, I guess.

Short with Blazej Dzikowski

How are you affected by contact with the audience?

During a meet, I feel both shame and excitement. Before a meet, I’mnot sure it isn’t some kind of a fraud that they are in the audience and I’m on the podium… it’s awkward!

What would a brief description of your story be like?

The short stories I’m going to read are answers to the question I asked myself some time ago: how little do you need to get a story?

Real life can be hilarious or tragic, depends on where you put the period.

Short with Rachel Trezise

How do your closest friends look at your writing?

I hope they like it but I don’t ever put them on the spot by asking them outright because really what they think is none of my business. We have a code of conduct where jokingly I ask ‘Is it the best thing you’ve ever read?’ And jokingly they say, ‘Yes.’ And we leave it at that.

Do you have any recommendation for reading?

My favourite authors at the moment are Daniel Woodrell and Annie Proulx. My favourites, though they change all the time, tend to be writers who are firmly rooted in the worlds that they write about, and those worlds tend to be inhospitable and full of cultural conflict.

Short with Dragoslava Barzut

Do you find yourself surprised while writing?

Writing should be understood as a business. It’s a job that I do, that I love and that I do the best I can. Yes, this is a very creative job. I prefer to avoid surprises in writing, the surprise within me is reserved for reading. When I write I like to keep an eye on my narrator. Although, I must confess, surprises are always in the game.

What would be a success in writing?

Showing the world to oders with a different eye.

Short with Alba Dedeu

How are you affected by contact with the audience?

I’m rather shy in front of an audience, and I always try to take refuge in my own story and forget the people listening. Otherwise I think I would feel too self-conscious and my voice would tremble.

Is your work influenced by the praise of readers?

I have a few trustworthy friends who always read my work and give me feedback. With them, and with readers in general, I’m always more sensitive to criticism than to praise. That’s the reason I seldom read any reviews.

Short with Zoran Bejkovski

Spritzer or beer?

I never drink spritzer, save when there’s nothing else (and I don’t appreciate mixing vine with water), beer is OK, but I like tequila or vermouth.

How are you affected by contact with the audience?

I have never had contact with the audience. I have stage fright.

Short with Stefanie Sourlier

Do you find yourself surprised while writing?

My writing is quite assoziative and not linear, normally I don’t know how a story will end, so I often find myself surprised while writing. Sometimes also the characters surprise me, like if I thought I know them, because they are my construction, but then they seem to become alive and have their own will. I think an interesting text contains surprise, not just in a surprising plot, but in its language and in its different voices.

Is it possible to defeat boredom by writing?

There exists a lot of great literature about boredom (think about for example Chekhov or Pessoa) which is perfect to defeat boredom, but this doesn’t mean that it became from boredom. Or maybe boredom is not so negative, if something creative can resolve from it. But if I’m bored, I don’t begin to write, I rather read, watch a movie, go for a walk, travel, and then write again. Writing has a lot to do with observation and reflection what is around me, so it means that I’m somehow interested about it. If I’m not writing for a long time, I’ll get dissatisfied, so maybe writing is a medium to defeat boredom.

Short with Todora Nikolova Radeva

Can you describe your workspace?

In a few words: my workplace could be everywhere. I usually write at home, surrounded by books and night noises, over a glass of wine or whiskey. But I also love to write outdoors, in cafes or in the park, sometimes while waiting in a queue at the tax office. Walking around, observing people, finding different places and capturing their stories: all that is part of the writing.

Is writing is a pleasant or a tedious process?

It is really great when you come up with a good idea and feel your characters completed and alive. And it could be quite tedious if you can`t find the best way to express these ideas.

Short with Vesna Tvrtković

What makes a writer different from other people?

In the search for inspiration, the writer must observe, even stare, eavesdrop and ask awkward questions. All this is very important, but the source of original ideas is in his dreams and subconscious. Unlike other people, the writer works while sleeping.

Is it possible to defeat boredom by writing?

Boring writing doesn’t deserve a reader.

Short with Uroš Sadek

Is writing a pleasant or a tedious process?

Writing is both pleasant and tedious. It is tedious because if you want to be in balance and peace with yourself, some things are better left inarticulate and do not explore the subconscious. On the other hand, the pleasure is when the writing shapes a meaningful whole and when the unexpected truth is reveled in a story, the point, the end that was not in sight at the beginning of writing. It is, in any case, the personal enjoyment that can not be compared with any Dionysian way of enjoyment.

Is your work influenced by the praise of readers?

Compliments have an impact even before they happen, existing still in the latent phase. Certainly, I want my writing to be well received. While trying to reduce the impact of praise to a minimum, it is difficult to achieve writing that reflects only my personal, inner criterion. When there are praise, there are great expectations, as well. And that is burdensome.

Short with Siniša Soćanin

Are there any stories that you write merely to be left to “rest in the drawer” without publishing?

To write a story with the intention of not showing it to anybody, it would have to be a story with such meaning, that it would be questionable whether it’s a story at all. I do not own such a drawer, or at least I will never admit it.

What can you say about your reading in Kikinda?

Reading my own stories aloud in front of other people reminds me of exhibitionist masturbation. So I always choose the best stories, the ones that fit that kind of communication, and try to read them in such a way that the audience can enjoy them, too.

Short with VÁRADI NAGY Pál

Do you make corrections of already published stories?

Yes and no – I don’t believe publishing to be a significant moment in the life of a text, the death of the author is much more like it. Actually I have a versioning system with major and minor versions. Major version gets incremented every time I write or completely rewrite something – ie. from 0 to 1 during the first formulation. Minor version gets incremented every time I edit the text – once thought to be finished — introducing a significant change, like changing a paragraph. So in my database Distanco 3.2 means it is the third attempt to write the “Distanco” idea, the text having two significant changes. Some 2.x or 3.x versions of already published texts get (re)published under different titles, since editors don’t really like same-title but radically-different contents – they must have their reasons. This way I can keep track of my writings.

Do you have a question for us? (“us” meaning the organizers, the multinational collective invited, literators in general…)

Not really.

Short with Lana Bastašić

Is writing a pleasant or a tedious process?

I think the answer lies somewhere between the two offered. If a writer stays too long in either of the states, he entered in a fallacy. When you feel that you create too easy or, on the other hand, if you think you are tormented with every new sentence, then something you do is wrong. We are creating literature, and nothing is either black or white, so be careful.

What would be a success in writing?

Success begins when you finish the manuscript, lay your back in your chair (all distorted and with painful spine) and open a bottle of wine. Success is engird when a stranger whom you will never be acquainted with reads the handwriting and feels that a small portion of him or her will never be the same again. Everything else is transitory trifles.

Short with Ivan Dimitrov

How do your closest friends look at your writing?

They are happy that I found way to express myself and I think they like the things I’m writing.

Are there any stories that you write merely to be left to “rest in the drawer” without publishing?

I think that the author must be very careful with the stories he is publishing. So it always comes to the decision whether to leave the story in the drawer or not.

Short wit Jan Sojka

How do your closest friends look at your writing?

My friends are often my first readers, and first critics. Of course, I am not taking their views as my own, but their encouragement helps me greatly, and points at what I, as the author, can’t see.

Is your work influenced by the praise of readers?

Huh, the praise of readers? It is dear, but very tricky too, so I try not to fall under its influence too much. It was the arts that, particularly often, confirmed that the opinion of the majority may not be the right thing.

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