interview, proza

Leila Samarrai: A good author is he who isn’t afraid to speak his mind

Leila Samarrai: A good author is he who isn’t afraid to speak his mind

Interviewed by Tamara Lujak for the online magazine Afirmator.

My interview for the online magazine Afirmator (in Serbian)

A master of the short story form, Leila Samarrai is a published award-winning author. She loves writing, stating that literature is her life, she dreams of having her own manager, like American authors do. Inspired by the Pythons, Charlie Chaplin, as well as everyday events in Serbia, she writes brief, jocular, satirical short stories, filled with anger and bitterness of relief. Delve for a moment into this world of hers.

 

What is the author’s mission?

LS: His mission is to be a good writer and that’s about it. I think this was the main thesis of Joseph Brodsky.

 

Why do you write?

LS: I write out of pleasure, and because I think I have something to say.

1438000176444771

Where do you get your ideas from?

LS: It’s simple, I bang my hand against the table, a genie appears from the magic lamp, bows and says “What’ll ya have, oh Magistra Ludi?!” I then make a wish that gets instantly fulfilled.

 

What makes good poetry or art and how would you define the craft of the poets?

LS: Art is a game. Poetry as well. At the end of the day, you either know how to play it or not…

 

What, according to you, is a good author?

LS: A good author is he who isn’t afraid to speak his mind; he who dictates the art of the verse. A scribbler who merely keeps quiet and enjoys being lauded is nothing but a reader with nothing of importance to do. He whose written word trickles from his wounds into the world and onto paper is not afraid to both praise and criticize, this is what he strives towards.

 

What is literature and the purpose of art to you?

LS: Survival of the human species.

 

How did you come to the idea of publishing Boris K. (Everest Media, Belgrade, 2013)?

LS: In the age of absurd events in Serbia, which clash common sense, it wasn’t all that difficult to be inspired, to write an absurd satire in the manner of Monty Python, or even Chaplin or a science fiction space-time traveler, which would reflect reality in the mirror of old woman Valentine. Pythonesque burlesques interspersed with a Kafkaesque atmosphere reflected in the name of the titular hero are merely some of the references that build up the overall feel of the novel. Why Kafkaesque? Because Boris K. is, even with all of his Johnny Bravo capabilities, merely a regular, tiny man in a sophisticated cog of the system which makes mincemeat of the sophisticated, but grinds it well. The Johnny Bravo effect, the muscles of the superhero are but a part of this comedy of the absurd, because the hyperboles I like utilizing, sometimes to their upper limits in order to strengthen the absurd and highlight it in the process, are but one piece of the comedy and that comedy, so to speak, gets more comical.

1438000219778100

At International Belgrade Book Fair, with Zoran Stefanovic, the reviewer of my book “The Adventures Of Boris K”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoran_Stefanovi%C4%87

How did Boris K. come about?

LS: First of all, if we don’t take into account the scientific theories of existence of parallel universes, in the present day Serbia as it is, unfortunately, we can notice that in order to merely survive the people need to live in some sort of personal universe, to be ‘deluded’, as the British would say. Those with more creativity can craft up to five-six roles… Don’t many of the Munchausens find refuge in their own lies? Still, Boris K. moves through worlds of alternative history and his fate is resolved in a satirical science fiction novel which is in the process of creation, and all of this close to the encounter with the aliens of civilization number 5. But more on this some other time…

nez5956

Can we expect a sequel to Boris K.’s adventures?

LS: As someone who feels at home with long form writing, I admit that would be rather easy work were it not extremely difficult to someone whom struggles with rationality, mathematical focus and dramatic precision, but let’s say it takes time for the plot to come together, the answer is as follows: you can, the ideas are everywhere (I agree with Plato on this one), maybe not as soon as I would want them to. Boris K. is not just a short story, he is an omnipresent avatar and a portrait of an undisciplined, yet witty cosmopolitan man. And he demands only the best of plots, a beginning, plot points, my favorite peripety and a witty resolution with hints of bitter irony aimed at the society around us.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

LS: Like a sculptor I chisel away at a novel made of tangled tales waging wars for each individual sentence. This work does not demand precision in the sense of a well-rounded plot, it is fantasy in and of itself, a fantasy where the awoken sleepwalk. The novel fits my narrative sensibilities which focus both on the plot and the character nuances and has the attributes of magical realism, therefore I’m good at it and enjoy working on it. I hope to leave a footstep in the snow with it somewhere in the distant north, where the plot is happening…for the future storytellers of the same genre (magical fantasy).  Officially this genre does not exist, or rather is not named as such. There is magical realism, but this is a work of magical fantasy.

1560258854218902

Any advice for upcoming authors?

LS: Don’t walk the same track as others. Break patterns and remember that Kafka was extremely insecure. He considered himself a bad author, which he masked with hysterical laughter (a sort of compensation for shame) whenever his friends were talking him into reading his works aloud. Also, he wrote them late at night. This is not the type of advice you should heed if you’re an early bird.

Standard
prose, thoughts

21st Century – Salieri’s revenge

In the 21st century music is no longer a friend of the muses. It has become a tool for “good” entertainment and for money -making exclusively, and those “goals” are the only criteria for its existence. Don’t even get me started on the visual arts and literature. (It’s tragic) The question remains: what is a writer (painter, musician) to do in such a climate, where even he is despised as a selfish, ridiculous creature who “lives in his/her own world” not having a clue about “real life”, the one whose art is mainly a cheap mask as an excuse for laziness (well, not all that cheap…)
It is irrational to think that art can be more than a hobby for a woman or a man unless it is eventually paid for. And in order to be paid, in cash or by credit card, it is necessary for you, my dear friend and colleague, to have a big shiny house and to be financially more than secure and possibly a lord or a count. Then all of it makes some sense! This is a typical relativization of a pondering mediocrity.
What to do? What could be done in a climate like this? The answer is: No matter what, the artists should refuse to listen to the shrill voice of this unhappy, materialistic, desolate era, removed from all of humanity. Their work must be done in silence, for the next who will accept it with a smile or refuse it with burst into laughter.

joshkutchai_salierisrevenge

Standard
proza

Happy Birthday, Eva Green!

Metaphorical, picturesque written saga about personal demons, through the prism of the monsters of British and Irish fantasy in the dark, dirty, mysterious, dangerous, exciting, poetic and exceptional way, with a phenomenal atmosphere… but, “Penny Dreadful” is much more than that.
Eva Green has completely nailed her role. Transformations through which she has gone through are completely incredible showing her exceptional acting talent.
On several occasions, her performance was completely astonishing and if there was an Oscar for the main female role in the series, she would be without competition.

Standard
prose, samarrai, short story

The Artists

‘I’ve carefully gone through your text of Wagner, madam. Quite passionate, a tour de force. This is precisely why I don’t call myself a Wagnerian, you will permit me (I hope) to provide some of my critical input.’

Mary Lynne allowed herself a minute smile and crossed her legs at the table.

The man tried his hardest not to look at her lovely, thin legs.

‘You start the text off strong, with a title that cuts to the chase, that doesn’t wander. The readers thinks that you will…that you’ll…’ His frowning face softened. ‘As early as the first, then the second paragraph to expand upon, to provide arguments to the qualification you laid…laid out, oh dear, I’m losing myself…in the title, yeah, that’s the word, IN THE TITLE! He gathered his wits for a second and started banging his head on the table – and yet nothing.’

il_570xN.1015046746_brah

Vincent D’Onofrio (Cholo) with Mathilda May (Stephanie) in the movie Naked Tango the end of the film.

https://www.etsy.com/il-en/listing/276627324/black-and-white-nude-acrylic-painting

‘You say that he bullied his colleagues, and also that you cannot cite a single example, because there is nothing written, or disclosed. Funny, one would wonder: where did the daring claim come from that the man was a witnessed sadist when there are neither examples nor evidence of this? ’

The man extended his hands towards her. ‘Oh, Maryyyy…I will strangle youuuuu! With a wire string, dude!’

The man panicked. He grabbed her throat. He screamed. ‘I’m panicking! I’m panicking! I have to jump!’

And he jumped at her mumbling how truly unhappy he is.

‘Look at her, how easily she gives herself to me! You are no longer so prideful! Get yourself up you low-browed dunce! Oh if only a wind could blow right now to lift your skirt up, and here I am having to put up the effort, they’ll even call this rape!’

‘And it would’ve been romantic’ Mary Lynne said coquettishly.

‘Right, like in Tannhäuser. Sing to me, sing to me, be my…Wilhelmina Schroeder!’

‘Is that like Venus?’

He lifted her leg in lieu of responding, as if he were plowing a field. He flung it over his left shoulder.

Venus sang.

‘Do forgive me never more will IIIIIIIII

Come to me if fortune’s what you seeeeeeeek’

p03v9r6j

Sophie Koch as Venus in Tannhäuser

‘My fortune…’ He uttered between heavy panting and then flung her left leg over his right shoulder (where the other one went, he wasn’t sure). ‘My fortune lies in Mary!’

And he added:

‘I also think that the text would have had more impact if Hitler hadn’t been mentioned. What, there’s no bloody way that Stalin, who was none the lesser a monster and a murderer than Hitler, didn’t love Glinka or Borodin, or more likely Mussorgsky. That does not mean that these composers were vile men. There is a sizable possibility that Idi Amin loved Tartini or Paganini, why not. There are counterexamples as well. Beethoven loved Napoleon for years, he even devoted ‘Eroica’  to him, after which he got disappointed, gave up on Bonaparte.’

‘There.’ Mary said, after an explosive finish a la Eroica. ‘Now, will we do some Wilhelm Friedman for me, sweet lover?’

‘Start!’ With Mary’s dress at an arm’s reach, he quickly put on a dress and made-up and groomed in a manga style he lifted his hairy legs up high, swearing that the Cliven depilatory cream was not handy.

‘You know how much I care for hygiene!’ He wept.

‘Cold waxing is the best with the Tiger tire glue.’ She smiled. ‘Now have a listen…’

‘Oof…’

Between Expressions by Hamish Blakely

‘Wilhelm Friedman was spat upon to the point of pain. A boozehound, died poor…(SIGHING) They then admit that he was the greatest instrumentalist of his age. The dude hit the clavier, not a single person could challenge him. A biography that on the surface looks like the buckish bios of notable rock musicians. Oy vey, there was a movie as well, I think the title of it is in fact Wilhelm Friedman, where he, apparently, suffers and struggles (SHE SIGHS LOUDER AND MORE PASSIONATELY) as a gifted son of a well-known father. The catch is that his father was nowhere near as noteworthy when Friedman was playing, and his problem was neither living in his father’s nor in his brother’s shadow (Mozart said about Carl Philip Emanuel: ‘He is the father, we are all his children’ (OH GOD!!!!), which reckless historians transposed as Mozart talking about Bach, and he didn’t.) (BOTH SIGH AND MOAN), but with all those flies, fleas and planktons that make up life and make up us humans, like a living organism, dead center in that life itself. Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang’s pops, picturesquely and colloquially described the habitus of Friedman Bach. ‘A remarkable musician, an unrivaled composer, but a heavy, heavy drinker.’’

He was panting. ‘I love Händel a lot. I have some undocumented version of his Water Music, therefore I do not know either who performed it or when, and the version is, just, it’s the balls, it tears ass… I listened to various different versions, but most of them are shit, can’t even come close to what I have. Händel and Telemann, by the way, I view as bigger composers than Bach. ’

Lars von Trier’s Antichrist was playing in the background during all of this. An erect phallus added to the magic and romance of the two. Candles were too much with all of these other stimuli. At the peak of arousal, they were slapping each other, arguing which composer is better.

antichrist

‘Boozehound, spendthrift, died poor, boozehound, spe…e…eh, dear husband, I think that will do for the evening.’

And while he was putting on man’s clothing, Mary Lynne sang Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphonie (Joie du sang des étoiles) in front of the mirror, the director of the Artist’s Trilogy Ron Gabe Bonester went upsy-daisy and with a ‘Camera, cut!’ he marked the end of the shoot.

‘I gave you too much freedom! None of that was in the script!’ He paused for thought. ‘Now you, kid, get Mary a gun to blow your brains out!’

The actress went upstart. ‘That wasn’t the deal!’

Bonester shouted in response to this. ‘Nobody questions my authority! For two hours behind that there…glass compartment…the Australian minister of culture is sitting and waiting for the script which will present his arduous devotions at the Art Conference focusing on non-profit management. Our country cannot develop economically without innovation in that particular field. And education! Who do you think you are? Who bought me this Canon EOS 6D to shoot you guys? Get serious, woman, and continue the oral, along with Chopin and your husband.’

‘But…we are ARTISTS!’

crcreepymonalisa-copy-511722

‘An overrated term. I do not exchange my ideas with the personnel. We directors laud a vibrant and growing creative economy!’

Then both He and She approached him and pounded him into the ground, while Bonester slid on the floor in his oversized suit.

‘Shall we continue where we left off?’

‘You mean…while the Minister Behind the Compartment observes?’

‘And then a gun to the head, like Romeo and Juliet. Or was it poison? But let’s not split hairs.’

‘That would probably be a mistake, but…as I said… we are artists, dear colleague, and a happy couple in Art. We cannot live on without the drama.’

‘And voyeurs,’ someone whispered, sat in a chair where the now unconscious director lay and followed this up with a thunderous applause.

Then the trio continued the show agreeing that the Husband should be given any old name.

Mary’s gaze flew up and she said: ‘He will be named Frederic. Like our unborn son.’

Nobody objected, therefore Frederic could begin.

The Minister, who physically reminded one of the head electrician, would record something with an expensive video camera. But under the condition that he played Chopin.

‘Bah bah, the Best Boy.’ Both send passionate kisses to him. Then, with an erotic play, they embraced.

‘Artists, such artists,’ mumbled the Mysterious Traveler, the Spectator, the Third Without Whom You Can’t Go On, from the artistic Kingdom of Heaven.

But Mary Lynne and Frederic were in their own world, wreathed in music and gifted with a gift worthy of the Gods.

The camera buzzed. Reflectors flashed.

6b9f918032e2324a623bdc89772c8205

SCENE 25:

‘I’ve carefully gone through your text of Bach, madam. Quite passionate, a tour de force. This is precisely why I don’t call myself a Bachian, you will permit me (I hope) to provide some of my critical input.’

SCENE 26:

‘…as far as the Bach family is concerned, I love Wilhelm Friedman and Carl Philip Emanuel, they rule, each in their own way, but I dug up some other guys as well – for instance, Johann Bernhardt Bach is also excellent. In the classical era Johann Christian Bach stood out. Imagine that wondrous family tree, this beast of a family, which branched out during a good hundred-and-so-year period, and bore nothing but interesting musical fruit. Crazy.’ (SCREAM)

CUT.

Standard
proza

SAMIRA’S COMFORT

You bite the poem under the tongue and words which made reminiscences into dust
They do not understand you, actrisa.
It is time for aktshluss

You were chewed by the populist phenomenology
Of verses devoid of poetry
In the band of false troubadours you cannot be actor primarium patrium
Aristocrat among poetesses do not forget that the Arabs divined your fate with arrows

Do not worry, Leila, I enjoyed reading your verses,
I Samira, the trade woman from the satrapy of forgotten empires
On my breasts I bared the burden heavier than the grandiose pillars from Hatra
Forever banished from the cradle of two folk I belonged to by the disfavor of Alan and Beog who found a dying city

samira

Do not worry, Leila, with you are Greeks and Sarmatians and your name is nailed into the Grecian affiches
Announced by Sophocles on fliers and billboards of alternative theaters
And Caligula dances with your Greek single act dramas on Palatine games

Do not worry, Leila, unpopular poetess in a world which you overcame
With the miracle of discovering the secret home in which you mastered silences

Do not forget everything is a matter of injustice because there is no justice
Do not forget the world became a mine field and an insult
Do not forget another world will be chiseled by your verses of immortal longing

Do not worry, Leila, there will be time for all those who hotly growl on the mention of your name to understand

The unbearable ease of existence and the feather of your French Alexandrine.

Standard
leila, proza

Imprisoned Beauty – Poem by Leila Samarrai

e63070d6ba1a6ba240f1477ea3f85089

http://poemlist.com/?mode=poem&id=1358674

Imprisoned beauty
In three layers poured
During a hellish night

Helen,
Intrigue ate you
And Erinyes
In turbulent water
Tongue burns from gall

Trojan woman,
Shave your beards!
And you shall see truth:
Shackled naked bodies
Stumble through underground passages.

Through myths
My death
Will be the eternal memory
Of sun’s fiasco.

Standard
poezija

Doubting Thomas, “The Darkness Will Understand”, Leila Samarrai

552575_163869130402371_100003378556183_223135_1335172012_n

43

Is it true Doubting Thomas
That they told him:

For your possession
From thine mouth you win a right
While your day is dieing

And he

Condemned to circumstances in verve
Becomes everyone who supports him
Far away from the roads that gnaw on non believers

And he

Does not answer to the first word,
not even on the second he speaks
Only on the third humbly and considerately

And he

Knows this life is for the dead
And not for the living
Not even the wall blasphemes

And he

Begs for the transparent innocence with eyes of balm
And accomplishment of the desolate

And he

Even cares not to be returned among the people
Learning in prayer

Still one thing I do not believe you
I do not believe you saint Thomas
That comfort is not sufficient
Invented in the shape of a woman

Standard
poezija

The signs along the path are the only thing left for you, “The darkness will understand”, Leila Samarrai

552575_163869130402371_100003378556183_223135_1335172012_n

 3

You do not grasp – the spilled blood is chiming
From unveiling you wrongfully dread
In agony of you yourself
While we pine atop Grecian terraces.

Daughter
Still rivers are audible in endeavor
And at that conjoined

In mirrors is the road to land of dead
And worshippers of the chronometer
And the unachievable bloom of summer

Put the pigeon on the fire my daughter
We are going to satiate ourselves
Grasshoppers as well my daughter
Before they abandon us through the windows

I forefeel that the unreliable man
quiets his breath and embarks on the way
of Beauty, Ordinance and Wars

The signs along the path are the only thing left for you

 

Standard