For the next few posts, I’m going to talk a little bit about my books, my reasons for writing them and what I think is interesting or relevant about them. I’ll backtrack a bit and say a few words about the writing process as well.
Though in our times, many seem to be suffering from graphomania, it seems, and quality is not a criteria either for publication or sales, a writer begins spinning their own stories very early in life. I think it’s often the case in sensitive or lonely children, and certainly when I was growing up in the former Yugoslavia, there was little on television and nothing like the panoply of games or the organized activities that children are subjected to nowadays.
Instead, there were days which seemed to stretch forever when I was allowed to wander around the countryside, close to the earth, experiencing all that beauty with a sense of awe that bordered on the spiritual. My first self expression was visual – my mother was an artist and I recall drawing and painting in water color from a very young age. But my father was a bookworm who had literary ambitions of his own, and so I got my love of stories from him.
I suppose when I started to read on my own, I would embellish whatever grabbed my interest and rewrite the story in my mind, or add to it, putting myself in the action-everything from pirate to princess. I think being an immigrant with very different cultural values than those around me, suddenly transported from a bustling extended family circle to vast American spaces, where, unless one was in school, days might go by without one having a conversation with another human being is a serious reason to spend time within the world of the imagination where all sorts of wondrous things might transpire.
I did very little writing growing up. I was too lazy to write the stories I had in my head out and by high school I had discovered great literature and was still taking it all in. In my twenties, I was still a very serious reader, but by my thirties I thought that I too might have something to say. I began writing a series of related short stories and saw several elements running through them, which have become features in my fiction, though in themselves all my books are very different.
Throughout my work, one can see lonely childhoods, unhappy families, artistic ambitions, spiritual awakenings and people caught up in the tumultuous events of the modern world which they have little control over. Write what you know, they say and I certainly do.