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Pain that is real

2023 | GE

Interview with Frederike Maas, literature researcher, ETH, Zurich

F: And then you took it from him - that's how the novel came about?


A: I sat in bed and tried to watch an 8mm Annie Ernaux film, but I couldn't. I was so in love, I could only think about the person I was in love with. I was so in love, all I could do was think about the person I was in love with. It was very difficult for me to do my job, make plans, have ideas, watch movies; opening my laptop was unimaginable. Soppy love songs on endless loop sometimes went. I was so in love that I realized the justification of the road rules. I was far enough addicted to idiocy to run into cars. My concentration span was barely enough to remember the meaning of "red" correctly. In bed, I was safe. 

The only thing that went was writing. Probably because I wanted to write to him all the time. Walking around aimlessly, grinning beatifically at strangers, and writing. Then I took a red notebook my aunt had given me and started. I thought: Until I see this person next time, I will write this love novel about us.


F: So you handwrote the book first. How many editing steps are there between this first, handwritten version (...)

Vagus - a recipe for a garden salad

2023 | EN

Zvona i nari Residency for Writers

Ližnjan  | ​Croatia

If one leaves through the kitchen door in the back of the house, one can see a rosemary bush covering the ground next to the tiles. The pointed leaves of the oleander shrub, which framed already the highway between Ljubljana and Rijeka. The sun is pushing strongly against the wall which is pushing the heat back; it creates a solid thick unease. Makes it difficult for us in the beginning to use the space especially in the morning. We say to each other, the front side of the house, that’s where locals spend the mornings with coffee and some bread with honey. The backside is for the evening, a cigarette, a cold beer, borek and fish. A couple of days we except it and keep the rule.


The grass is brown and dry and sunburned. So are the spiked Oleander leaves, red earth after the rain, tribes of ants. Clover leaves. Robinia, the queen of the trees. Old looking oak leaves of young trunks. My mother would name me all, her excitement which would make her pointing from leave to plant to blossom to flower to tree. It would ring a bell. So often I have heard her poems. Sometimes she would bend over asking full of caution for names and families and use and growth. Field bindweed it is echoing in my head when the blossom is long withered. I pick it out of my plate.


There is the sound of summer, of lunch time plates, of garden fence conversations, of a wooded drilled construction, of leaves, of wings.

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