Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rumena Buzarovska: Q&A

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares.
On the cover, Stephanie Cunningham. 
"My Husband": Q&A with Rumena Buzarovska. Photos (#2 -5) & interview By K.K.W. 
Rumena Buzarovska. Photo courtesy of the author.
Sometimes what's equally important as the writing, are the aspects of the writer. Behind the words, the plot, hidden things and symbolism that lead back to their early days of struggle thats never over, or forgotten. This could all make an interesting interview, depending of course on the reader. I met Rumena Buzarovska on my 2nd trip to The Republic of Macedonia, at her friend Elena's birthday. And while she admitted to being a writer, I didn't expect to be at her booking signing a few weeks later - seeing many adoring fan's. 
#2 @ the book signing for "My Husband"
K.K.W:  What was the earliest influence writing had on you?

R.B: I liked reading from a very early age, but I distinctly remember the desire to produce something similar to what had fascinated me as a reader at the age of 8. At the time I was reading children’s fiction. As a result I started keeping a diary and I remember writing a few “stories” with no plot. I also liked reading and writing poetry, but that influence didn’t last very long.

K.K.W: It’s a hard line to walk for intelligent, talented cultured people [given the realities of Macedonia or anywhere else] from an early age, even when you’re older. Was it like this for you, or maybe still is?

R.B: I’m fortunate enough to have been surrounded with intelligent, creative and inquisitive people my entire life. In the past several years, the situation in Macedonia has been extremely politically and socially engaging, which has generated even more outstanding individuals and has contributed to the emergence of a new art scene and a new culture of social criticism. Things never get boring here. Still, this could just be a reflection of my undying optimism.

#3 @ the book signing for "My Husband".
Form left to right: Goran Dimov G-Ie,
Fani Hristova, and Abe Ana Choveche.
K.K.W: At what point did you start writing in earnest?
B.R: While I was a university student. I wrote my first “real” story at the age of 20, I think.

K.K.W:  Few talented people ever look back at their early works without cringing [a little], how about you?
R.B: I am definitely among those “few”. The older the work, the cringier the feeling. I like to cut myself some slack, though, because youth has its own expression and its own viewpoints. Also, I’ve found that what is sometimes cringe-worthy for the author can be appealing to the audience, precisely because of the inexperience or naivety of youth. I try to make myself understand and see this when I (am made to) read my older stories, but it doesn’t always work. This is why I try to avoid rereading what has already been published.

#4 @ the book signing for "My Husband".
K.K.W:  Does "Jameson" help with or inspire you to write?
R.B: There is a myth that authors need alcohol to write. In fact, drunk reading is nearly impossible, and drunk writing is even worse. Not only is it physically hard, but it is also mentally difficult to focus on something that needs to be so carefully and meticulously planned and structured such as fiction. Jameson is for play, not work. Or rakija, for that matter.

K.K.W:  What lead you towards creating "My Husband"?
R.B: I was annoyed because everyone was asking me when I was going to get married. I found the ease with which people were meddling in my private life (and my uterus) incredibly insolent. I also became very sensitive to the false morals the people around me were condescendingly preaching: as if they were trying to suck me into their own boring routine if I wanted to be a part of their adult world. That was the first reason. The second one involved a story that I wrote about a woman who finds out, with time, that her husband is in fact a very bad poet and that she fell for him for all the wrong reasons. After that, I started focusing the stories around the female narrator who is married and because of that is in a specific social situation.

K.K.W:  Given that its from the perspective of a woman & other women did you find that it gained the attention of more females then males?
R.B: Maybe, for the wrong reasons. I am critical of what is popularly perceived as women’s writing: as something sentimental, romantic, and occasionally witty – but in essence sexist, because it revolves around women wanting to please men (kind of like Sex and the City). My readers will be disappointed if this is what they were looking for. I quite consciously use grotesque elements, irony and humor to criticize social norms, so the stories are definitely not what I described above. The title of the collection itself, in a way, is a lie, because the stories are much more about wives than husbands. Still, I think it resonates more with the female audience, if anything because most of the characters in the stories are women.

K.K.W: Have you ever considered yourself a role-model for other young women?
R.B: I don’t like it when other young women who’ve read and liked my stories look up to me in a flattering way. This relationship is complicated for me because I also teach at the University, and this gives me even more authority that other people take for granted. I don’t like this authority; it can really mess up your ego and then screw up your work. It also makes me feel uncomfortable because I like to be challenged. So no, I don’t like to consider myself a role-model.

#5 @ the book signing for "My Husband".
From left to right: Fani Hristova, Abe Ana Choveche, & Rumena.
Rumena Buzarovska is arguably one of the most interesting people in The Republic of Macedonia, and certainly talented. I especially liked the way she answered the last question. If you would like to know more, go to: 'Art is the reason, art is the way'

No comments: