Born in a country that doesn’t exist any more, to an extinct nation and speaking a dead language, that’s briefly about me… and just about anyone from former Yugoslavia.
By the age of 15 i knew we lived in a lie – what we were thought in the school was so obviously false that it hurt; what was even worse than that was the process of witnessing the people adapting to the lie, more so – adopting the lie and presenting it as their personal truth, albeit they knew all the way that you knew all the time that it was a lie.
(What i did not know back than was that it would end up in tears and blood… Somewhere at the time when i reached late teen age – it could be already smelled in the air, some kind of fatalism blended with the sour smell of things going wrong, very wrong.)
And it’s not true – the romanticized version which says they had to, out of fear, out of hopelessness… No, most did it clear-headed to get the benefits and advantages of the party-endorsed writers and “thinkers” and whatnot.
It was the easy way out, the easiest way to earn a living… Truth is always taking you up the hill – and the climb is often rough, while the lie is an easy ride down… all the way down to hell, however you imagine one.
Being schooled in the Soviet system i was thought there is nothing for me in the rotten West – and its only my inexplicable back then desire to learn English language that took me there, to the West where this alien to us people, known as Westerners lived…
My world spoke Russian and English language was not in vogue in our parts, hence my desire was perceived as yet another capprice of a brat born to a family of “red bourjois” – an only daughter in a family of a communist leader… it took me a lot of persuading, manipulation and even (sic) a hunger strike – to make my parents send me to a college in London.
The West held a shock for me – and not merely a cultural one; a kind of shock that’s difficult to explain in the post cold-war world and more so – in the age of internet.
The class differences – those i’ve never faced before; the reality of private property either.
Yugoslavia, being somewhere half-way between the East and West did have private property – but only in terms of owning the land and small businesses – when i first saw a big sign PRIVATE PROPERTY/KEEP OUT on a huge mansion, i was flabbergasted.
When at Miss Selfridge window i saw a Rembrandt’s style black velvet cap that costed what i knew was a decent monthly income in UK back then, i knew it for myself that the West was living its own lie – very different than ours, but still a lie.
I was taken aback by Hyde Park’s talking corners – back than in ex-Yu the law on verbal delict would put you in jail for badmouthing the communist leader(s), even if drunk and in a pub.
It’s ages later that i realized the infamous verbal delict was – albeit a sick – way of paying respect, you see those in power actually sincerely feared the power of the spoken world and you – the ordinary guy who had this potentially fatal power – you were aware of it, and spoke in a low voice and you knew that your word – a word - did matter.
Little did i know back than that the brave in my eyes speakers in the Hyde Park – were by most considered to be – fools and that the more they spoke, the more their word, and the primordinary word was loosing its power…
It’s there, in London, during 80ies that i got introduced to Silva Method and that would be my first encounter with a systematical teaching and practice of the use of so-called extra-sensory phenomena; my mother being from what once was Austrian-Hungary, i was already acquainted – since early childhood – with divination, cartomancy, spiritism and coffee residue readings.
From there my life will continue in two parallel dimensions – the public one where i pursued education and a career in Foreign Service, and a private, hidden one which included studying and practicing the occult; at the age of thirty, having achieved quite a high rank in the State Protocol – i did the unthinkable – having realized that this dichotomy will be pushing me into ever darker depression, i left my job, the comfort of my home, packed a rucksack and left to China.
It’s there that i started writing and it became the road to my personal salvation; for me writing is not a mean to an end – its the process itself that has the cathartic effect i still need so badly.
I published three books so far and a novelette; my first books – ‘The Archetype of Miracles’ and ‘Io Triumpe’ are collections of short stories , while the third one – ‘Devil, an unauthorized biography’ that was published December 2011 is a book of poetry – all have received quite unexpected for me critical acclaim and have earned me a status i never even dreamed of – of a writer endorsed by the national Ministry of Culture.
I am currently living between Montenegro, where is my home and Moscow, Russia – where i am working on a PhD thesis in linguistics at State Pushkin University.
p.s. Two years later, nothing much changed, except that i’ve published couple of books and was included in some super cool anthologies:
Poetry – The Color of Change (Gligorije Dijak, 2013)
First Anthology of Montenegrin poetry written by women: Koret on the Asphalt (National Community of Croatian Montenegrins and Scanner Studio, Zagreb 2013)
Novelette “New Testament”, Best European Fiction 2014 ( Dalkey Archive Press, USA)
in print (non-fiction) : Social Function of Russian Language in Contemporary Montenegro (MAKS Press, MGU, Moscow)