At 9, I expressed my life long creed never betrayed so far. I told my mother I could not live without writing. And while I did go through lack of inspiration or energy to create, I always came back to my love for literature.
In one of my favourite places in Bucharest – the first Carturesti bookstore, a place where books live
together with awesome herbal tea and vintage decor.
My book on my childhood memoirs in communist Romania starts with the night when I wrote my first poem. It then carries on with talking about my love for stories and reading, apparently expressed from a very early age. A project in the making, it will not be a novel about books, but of all the ways I spun in my mind to begin telling my story, none bettered the chosen one.
How and why I switched to English (and the UK)
Now a Romanian writer and journalist with a vlog in the UK, I am finding my way back into everything while swapping languages. The only things I type in my native language nowadays are Facebook comments and private messages. In 2015, I found a writers’ group in the town with the highest percentage of senior population in this part of the world, where I used to live. I started to attend before going back to University that year. Then I secured a place to study towards my MA degree in Online Journalism.
I loved Birmingham with its warm diversity since the day I interviewed to join the MA course with Paul Bradshaw at Birmingham City University.
In autumn that year my journey of returning to both journalism and literature began. I left Romania in 2011 precisely for this reason: to write and report in English, so I could reach a bigger audience. To be published in English would be a lifetime accomplishment.
Finding my place back where I belong: among writers
After a year of commuting once a week from Bournemouth to Birmingham, for my part time MA studies, I decided to move to the Midlands. Living in Wolverhampton now, and striving to finish my degree, I gather how much Birmingham and the region actually have to offer. Literary events, open mics, writers groups, and even a local literature festival expanding after its first edition make it worth while.
Cooking for the Wrekin Writers at Abersoch, on the retreat, November 2017.
In early 2017 I searched for local writers’ groups to join. As a very social person, the creative workshops, writing retreats and generally the company of my own particular kind of people motivate and inspire me. And the Wrekin Writers certainly made me feel again like I belonged. The results soon came. Currently working on 2 books, inspired by my childhood and youth back in Romania, I am translating earlier poetry and also writing short stories intended for various competitions.
Out of my home city, and into the world – first stop, Bucharest
Moving to the UK wasn’t the first time I relocated out of passion for literature and journalism. In 2005 I still held my full time job as a High School teacher in the city of Timisoara. It did not pay much, but the job was secure and I enjoyed it. However, once in contact with the young writers group from Bucharest, I realised how much more effervescent the literary scene was in the capital. I attended a book fair, held in the building of the National Theatre, with the most bohemian bar on the terrace on its rooftop. And I realised I could not afford to travel regularly for such events.
A red booted me, listening to feedback on my erotic literature (project abandoned) in 2009.
The reading happened at the weekly meetings organised by regretted critique Marin Mincu.
In Bucharest I found everything I wished for: public readings, book launches, book fairs, theatres, “meet the author” events and a job in journalism. Money still didn’t cover much. My lifestyle was still as bohemian as it gets. But I experienced the fever of it all, while learning a lot as both a writer and a human.
The bohemian dreams clashed with the harsh world of money making
I soon experienced the clash between my ideals and love of the inner beauty of things and the financial and political jungle of the capital. From such antagonising energies resulted my “Sister of War” poetry book. It gathers poems heavy with disillusion, with sadness and a feeling of helplessness. But it also takes a feminist stance in a literary world women writers form a particular oddity, either tolerated by, or muses for their male counterparts.
I remember what a Romanian young woman told me one day. She knew I was a writer, and we befriended before losing contact. She believed that books written by women never reach the quality of male produced literature.
I launched the poetry book in late summer of 2012, in one of the bohemian bars in an old house in Bucharest. A handful of people attended the event, mainly fellow writers and a few people I met online. And back in Romania they still discover my book today, as I publish translations. They hadn’t heard of it before.
While I consider it a cornerstone book, I could not capture the same feelings and experiences in my poems today. “Sister of War” will remain the voice of lost hopes and dreams, of warm humanity keeping us together, of social anger and of a desperate struggle to find some sort of redemption.
But I no longer feel lost. If immigrating taught me something, it will be this: I live to experience, and to filter what I experience. It’s up to me separate gold from dirt in my struggles. And my literature gives me the immense power to do so.
Just like any extrovert writer, and an ENFJ personality, I would be thrilled to answer any questions you might have.