Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. If you’ve always wanted to know what a literary activist living between Brussels and Ljubljana looks like, meet Anja Golob!
A text unity lies not in its origins but in its destination or audience. What does that mean to you? Can a text be original?
Influences are undeniable, but the use of one’s head, the connections, conclusions one draws, the basic living of life, the individual use of language, my own take on things, my style – that can very much be original and can be reflected in text, making it original, even if the topic were for example, as so often is, good old love.
Reading is writing is reading is writing … – why, and if so, in what way?
I do believe one cannot write without reading; reading constantly, a lot, also things that maybe at first glance don’t seem to be their cup of tea, to re-read certain gems over and over again, to evaluate one’s own experience, growth, perspective in comparison to certain works. Reading builds character, promotes discipline, it evokes (and provokes) imagination, which is absolutely crucial for writing. It expands personal taste, forces me to form an opinion – what I like, what not, and why. I can see the text influencing me, and myself in the text at the same time. All of this builds a platform for my writing and makes it have depth, be believable. For this, I think a certain exertion, investment of time into reading is needed from the part of the author, and can be felt from their text, but this comes from me thinking writing is serious work, and not a gift from a muse or a product of pure talent.
Which literary event has fascinated you most and why?
With me, it’s not about one particular event, but rather about a certain silence, which is sometimes created if people at a reading are willing to invest their energy into active listening. This tension, masked as silence, can happen at any reading, any event. It can last for a brief moment, occur and disappear several times during a reading, or prolong itself and (but this is really rare) float independently about the room of people sharing time, space and literature. It’s magnificent to experience this; it makes the whole writing thing unbelievably rewarding.
Photo © Grace Schwindt