Memoirist, blogger, and soon-to-be clinical psychologist Rodica Mihailis has undergone many personal evolutions since her defection from communist Romania in 1981. Her recent memoir, The Gypsy Saw Two Lives (Strategic Book Publishing), itself evolved from her popular blog, chronicles the adaptations that have characterized her life on both sides of the Atlantic with humor and perspective—and a surprising amount of empathy even for the least sympathetic characters. In this fifth edition of “The New Xорошо,” Mihailis expounds upon faith, free will, and the funny side of being ousted from an ambulance in February; under separate cover, Colman O Criodain reviews The Gypsy Saw Two Lives.~T.M. De Vos
Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
Poet, translator, and fiction writer Yuriy Tarnawsky is a founding member of the New York Group, a friend to the surreal, and a fond misanthrope. His newest collection, Short Tails (JEF Books/Civil Coping Mechanisms), from a festival of grotesquerie and the existential struggle, is populated by characters who, variously, absorb Lenin’s verbal and gustatory tics, shed skin and limbs and ligaments until reduced to a single eyeball, or discover that a long-dead father is pulling them into the grave by the jowls. In this fourth and long-overdue installment of “The New Xорошо,” I learn to read less deterministically and Tarnawsky invokes the absurd, leaves us with a phonological riddle, and reminds us that we’re all going to die.~T.M. De Vos
The 1920′s and 30′s are two very different eras that depict themselves well in your work. I find myself going from glamorous, inspiring and lively moods to very moody, ,modest, and misunderstood ones. A purer example of this may be in two of your 2007 acrylic pieces, American Woman and Lonely Heart. It seems like almost the same picture or woman, but extravagantly different. How would you describe the relative difference in these two eras and decades in relation to your art? (more…)
If you must know, Paul Rogov is from Minsk, Belarus, lives in southern California, and will blog for you about war, art, and trauma. But he’s not giving up his biography. Not that it’s important. With narratives populated by men with Saussurean scars, failed fathers, and gawky boy soldiers disfigured by adrenaline, how much could any individual’s biography matter? If, as Kierkegaard describes, we become ourselves through our actions, then Rogov’s characters determine themselves, and their relationships, through their traumas—self-inflicted or otherwise. “Trauma unites people,” explains Rogov, the third author featured in the “The New Xорошо,” as he weighs in on spirituality, femininity, and the impossibility of shooting heroin like a gentleman. ~T.M. De Vos
Eeenterview with Neil Rothstein
By Luis Rivas
Neil Rothstein is 34 (but doesn’t look a day over 33), and lives and works in Manchester, England. He studied fine art at Bath Spa University over ten years ago. From his little in-house studio, he produces his artwork, paintings and writing.
Neil has said, “In my artwork I have tried to always evolve and experiment with styles and methods. I think it’s very important to be chameleonic with artwork and to react to different emotional circumstances in a host of ways. I alternate my painting and writing, both of them giving me a certain cathartic relief in specific ways.”
With writing Neil finds it to be a more immediate form of artwork, a distinct and quickly forming, almost absolutely instinctive process, the words forming are removed from him in some dark recess of the mind, where they wait to be unlocked. With his paintings, it tends to be more considered and time consuming but nonetheless important.
Neil has exhibited mainly in the north west of England, Liverpool, and St Helens mainly; and he has sold a good percentage of his artwork. He is also a regularly-published poet and artist on Gloom Cupboard. (more…)
Alex Pruteanu is the author of Short Lean Cuts, a novella which, amongst other topics, explores the ever-escalating narratives offered for public consumption. Fittingly, my acquaintance with Pruteanu developed online and progressed via Facebook, the ultimate forum for constructed narratives of life and self. A native of Romania, familiar of Moldova, and American of thirty years, Pruteanu isn’t waving a flag for any country, citing the natural clusters forming “villages, towns, or even cities” as the real loci of our allegiance. To quote Gogol Bordello, “Between the borders, the real countries hide.” In the following interview, Pruteanu, the second featured author in “The New Xорошо,” echoes the sentiment that “the programmed robots are buying and buying” and shares his thoughts on place, nostalgia, timelessness, and how bestand will eventually snuff the human species.
~T.M. De Vos
English version by Valery Petrovskiy
after Russian translation by Alexei Prokopyev.
1/ Eh, the miserable wide world -
There is the only sun, and the only moon.
There is at least some of the wide world around!
Eh, the miserable other world—
There are seven suns, and there are seven moons there,
But no light.
Valery Petrovskiy is the author of numerous short stories—published both in English and in Russian—and IнтимNОе, a collection of short stories in Russian. I made Petrovskiy’s acquaintance online, after reading several of his short stories in English: struck by his symbolic language and compact narratives, I contacted him, and we soon developed a literary friendship. As we corresponded, I became more and more curious about his work, its national context, and the Chuvash Republic, his birthplace and home. In the ensuing interview, Petrovskiy, the first featured author in “The New хорошо,” discusses jazz, publishing, anthropology, and the most comfortable city in the Russian Federation.
~T.M. De Vos
Kristina Marie Darling, a twenty-five year old, two-time Pushcart nominee and author of Fevers and Clocks, Nigh Songs, and Traffic in Women, discusses her personal writing style and breaks down certain aspects of the publishing world for up-and-coming writers.
How do you determine what topics to write about, and how does this affect your personal memoir and nonfiction essays individually?
I try to address topics that aren’t usually the subject of essays or memoirs. When I read a nonfiction book, I’m always thrilled if I encounter something I’ve never seen before—particularly experiences, images, or themes that we wouldn’t normally think of as “literary” or “significant” enough to include in a serious work. I definitely emulate writers like Sarah Manguso, Poe Ballantine, and Kathleen Finneran, who see philosophical significance in everyday events.
For an individual work, this often means that I immediately rule out certain subjects. I wouldn’t ever write an essay about a trip to Paris, my cat, or my grandmother because these seem like easy choices. I think it’s good for nonfiction writers to challenge themselves, and try to find beauty and strangeness in the most unexpected places. (more…)