"Titoland" coming in March 2012

I am ecstatic to announce that my new book "Titoland: Eine gleichere Kindheit" will be published by Czernin Verlag in March. “Titoland” is a portrait of  Yugoslavia in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Driven by Tito’s  charisma and political skills, the country managed the impossible: a balance between East and West, Communism and Capitalism. What appear to be loosely connected childhood memories of Summers on the seaside, travels to “the outside,” or the happiness of wearing a self-made (and therefore unique) dress, create a rich literary tableau before the backdrop of the gradual collapse of Tito’s Empire. The childhood does not end abruptly, but breaks up painfully, piece-by-piece, like the country in which I live. What follows is a leap into the unknown.

Book presentation will be in April in Vienna - stay tuned for details.

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To my readers

Today I want to give a big THANK YOU to all my readers who took few minutes to contact me. Writing is a very solitary process and once the book is out there in your hands, suddenly there is this big silence. And this silence is only broken by the occasional e-mail from a reader. It is very motivating to get feedback. Even if the feedback is negative – just knowing that your book has touched someone is fantastic.I received an e-mail today that made me cry. The lady who wrote it is a librarian with a passion for books. She called me a “woman who offers guidance. To everybody.” Which is the biggest compliment I have ever received. What made me cry is the fact that all those experiences, emotions, thoughts, dilemmas I described in the book were not wasted. They were anyway not wasted, but the fact that they became a book made them even more valuable. And than knowing that there are people out there to whom those things mean something and give them something is the most incredible feeling. It gives so much motivation to go on. To live and to write. And to love life. Thank you.

Note to potential husbands

Here's a nice Christmas present to me: My Austrian publisher's catalogue of spring releases just came out. I brought it to my parents yesterday, all proud and excited. And they were also proud and excited. But then they started worrying that once the book is out in Austria, I will never get married. My liberal, intellectual 1968ers parents scared the shit out of me....

So here a plea to all my potential husbands:

1. Check out the category my book is in: LITERATURE! Not autobiography/non-fiction/"Sachbuch"

2. Yes, it does say "some parts autobiographical" - but hey, this sells (after all, I am a marketier by profession)

3.  Isn't it just excellent to live the devil out when you are young so later you know you're not actually missing anything as you're feeding a screaming baby at 3 AM instead of dancing with models in posh clubs?

4. I can cook!!!!!

And here a quote from my book's review in Croatian Playboy (claiming that my book is just opposite of being feminist): "Feminism has failed - because as long as every Carrie is just dreaming of getting married and having a baby, nothing has changed."

Yes, we are a lost generation.....

Congratulations to Change!

Obama won and I am celebrating. This vicotry is not so much about Obama – it is about the collective conscious of what used to be the most powerful nation in the world. The fact that he won with so much lead showed that people are fed of the state their nation was in and angry of the stiff, greedy, cruel class that was leading it for the past eight years.

The real question now is: how much will really change? In one week, when the euphoria is over, the country will still be involved in two unfair wars it cannot really get out of, it will still have a strong business lobby ruling it from the shadows, it will still be economically ruined, it will still be based on values which helped turn capitalism into a beast it just proved to be, bringing the world to the crash we are experiencing right now. I still hear the loud “boos” coming from the crowd when McCain compared increasing taxes for rich to socialism. This is still a country of people who believe in self reliance, that it is their duty to make it on their own, no matter how many sacrifices have to be made, and that having “made” it, is enough of a contribution to their society. They still believe that contributing a part of their self-made wealth is “socialism” and bad. Not everybody should be doing fine, only those who “deserved” it. To return to human values and to start flourishing again, this whole nation has to start thinking of itself as a collective, not as a bunch of individuals. Can Obama make that change?

USA is still the good old USA and Obama is a big refreshment and an opportunity but not a magician. What is important though is that he gave people a belief that change can happen, and that the power is in their hands, not in W’s. He returned african-americans their long lost dream and their dignity. He gave the rest of the world a hope that a different, better, fairer USA is possible. But what is most important, he gave his nation a feeling of liberation from old constraints. Let’s hope that this victory will also help the intellectuals to feel free and empowered to try and make a deeper change so urgently necessary in this country.

There is one thing I have to admit I am worried about. Security. Not the US security. Obama’s security. We all know what happened to many of the US’s great mavericks and ambassadors of positive change. I really hope he has the best personal protection a person can have. That he will go to Dallas and that he is not susceptible to “Monica” kind of traps.

There is one thing that struck me as I just watched the reactions from the streets on CNN. People are celebrating the first african-american president. For his skin color. Nobody was mentioning the ideas he is standing for. I know how much those people have suffered and I know how unfair the system still is to them. I know the race still is a big issue. But I do not think that the fact that Obama's skin color is most important, and the only aspect that should be celebrated. This could only awake old hatreds. And after all, he is not black-black. He is black-white. Or white-black. He is everything. What is so much more important - he is a symbol of ideological change in his country.

Speaking of looks… I watched a documentary on both candidates last night and I was surprised to see how handsome John McCain was when he was young. And then I realised that both Obama and his wife are good looking people. Yes, we know that Joe Biden is very handsome and Sarah is a beauty queen. I wondered what does this mean. Does this say something about the US politics? Something about the country in general? Or is it a universal thing? But when you look at leading politicians of other countries, you don’t see much beautiful people. Still, Austria’s both increasingly powerful right wing parties are headed by what you could call handsome men. Slovenia’s new minister president is an ex-model….. Are looks becoming increasingly important, also in politics?

I’m off to watch more of that euphoria. It does feel good.

Bambi or Wolf?

God, I survived a walk in the woods with a heterosexual man!

I normally go for my weekly wood magic with my gay neighbour (and friend) Patrick. And it is always plain beautiful: In spring, we are excited about the little pink and white buds coming out of the wet and dark earth, later in the year we pluck Bärlauch (ramson or bear’s garlic) and discuss the best Bärlauch recipes. In summer, we lie on a little chequered blanket and bask in the sun. And in the fall, we search for mushrooms in all colours and sizes. Like we did last weekend in the Little Red Riding Hood wood – it really was like a scene from a Disney cartoon.

Well, today was the first time in a long, long time that I went into a wood with a hetero man. And no, it wasn’t all about the big bad wolf eating poor Little Red Riding Hood behind a bush. First, we got lost – my walker was absolutely sure he knew his way around as he is mountain biking through this wood every week. Then, we ended up climbing a VERY high hill. And then we were even more lost, soon sliding down a very steep slope covered in slippery red leafs. Please note: I was wearing little golden adidas shoes. So once we managed to get off the slope (finally), I ended up sinking in mud – not only did my little golden shoes disappear in black mud but so did my cool jeans, all the way up to my knees. Thank god the hetero man on my side was big and strong and immediately fished me out. I really love woods, but I swear to God, I just wanted to get out of that one.

What is it about gay men?  How can they make any wood into a Bambi paradise? Why are butterflies and rabbits and flowers dancing in the sun whenever a gay man enters a wood? I mean, when you go into a wood with a gay man, you could as well put on your thinnest stilettos and you would be ok…. I don’t know. It’s…magic. Gay magic. Or am I simply a fag hag?

  I don’t get it.

But since writing about woods (again), here my favourite wood joke:

“Aha! Little Red Riding Hood!” says Big Bad Wolf, upon finding the girl in the woods. “Now I’m going to take off your little read cape, lift up your little red skirt, pull down your little red panties and fuck your brains out!”

“Oh no, you’re not, Mr. Wolf,” Red Riding Hood retorts, pulling a pistol out of her basket and drawing a bead on the wolf. “You’re going to eat me just like the book says!”

 

Maybe that is it! In the woods, girls either want to meet Bambi or Wolf! Not sink in mud.

Catch me if you can

Last week, I was at the Profil Megastore (my Croatian publisher’s flagship store) to see how my book is feeling there. I found a book by Banksy, the UK street art guru (see my post from 20.5.2008) which I can recommend to everybody - it will both amuse you and make you think. So, I sat down at the café on the gallery to have a cup of coffee, look at Banksy’s work and occasionally glance down to see how people “interact” with my book. And then I realised I never signed any books for the store, so inspired by Banksy’s interventions, I simply went down, picked a huge pile of my books, brought them up to my coffee table and signed them. Each with a little note, of course. I returned the books and was very amazed because NOBODY reacted. I could have been just anybody writing anything into anyone’s books. I could have taken a bunch of Candace Bushnell’s books and signed those. Lesson learned: you can do whatever you want, as long as you do it with an overdose of confidence. “Catch me if you can”, remember?

Later that day, I proudly told Lucija about my “intervention” into my own books. “Shit, what if people complain that someone destroyed the books! Even the people working at the store can’t know the signature is really yours!” Well, shit happens. Maybe somebody gets the joke. And if not, if they really think someone else signed my books, they will have to throw them away – and print new books. And that’s how you get your second edition!