Today is another review for the Literary Wives blogging club, in which we discuss the depiction of wives in modern fiction. If you have read the book, please participate by leaving comments on any …
A disobedient wife, in the context of contemporary Tajikistan, is a wife who wants autonomy and acts on it. The Disobedient Wife (2015), beautifully written if somewhat disjointed in the transition…
Literary Wives is an on-line book club that examines the meaning and role of wife in different books. Every other month, we post and discuss a book with this question in mind: What does this book s…
(Following on from the previous post, a day in 1 minute)
I, am a writer.
I am, a writing writer.
I am a writer, I am.
Dressed the kids, took them to school, attended a school meeting, shopped for groceries, unpacked the groceries and sat in front of a blinking screen, I had 30 minutes to spare;
Uploaded new fragments of novel for a friend in Benin who is reading the latest draft;
Researched what potato chips cooked in a Kenyan slum alley might taste like (to no avail). Would they be masala, or plain, I wondered? Plain. Ate a chip, still could not get further than the bulky ‘salty potato-ness’.
Then…Cleaned the house of mess, drove to the airport, collected a car load of refugee donations, drove home and put them in my garage/warehouse;
Checked my email and researched the origins of far right wing party Casapound in Italy;
Then… Picked up the kids from school, brought the kids home, snack time and homework, took one kid to his friend’s house, cooked and served dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, sorted washing, picked up debris from the floor (dirty socks, a wet pair of swimming trunks, a drawer-full of sweaters, sleeves tied together, a school bag of books scattered across a room, a box of Barbies, tipped upside down);
Sat down to edit 4 pages, adding 3 words and removing 5, taking out a comma and putting it back in, 6 times;
Researched witchcraft in Rwanda for protection (and read an article about magic ‘medicine’ found on a championship goalpost where the Rwandese/ Ugandan national football match ended 1-0, leading to accusations of witchcraft);
Checked the blue peril (facebook) 5 times;
Checked my email, sent emails, responded to several messages;
Edited another page of writing (for the 40th time);
Debated whether to begin another fragment of novel, a missing piece of the structural puzzle… thoughts don’t count as writing, though one could make an argument they should… and sat down to write this blog post.
I am keenly aware that:
1) I have not done much editing/ new writing today;
2) When I edit my novels, I spend up to 6 hours each day but have little to show for it, nothing that a reader would notice. Worse, my publisher will take this book, my baby, and make changes, scrapping the hours spent into little balls of disregarded metaphors, adverbs and descriptive passages. I wonder, therefore, is all my literary fiddling worth it?
3) Housework and motherhood justify this existence, even though (2), the magical 6 hours, is the personal achievement of each day to which I aspire when I wake;
4) I will publish again, if only to know that the time spent researching, reading and writing over the past 16 months led to something more tangible than an invisible file measuring a paltry 43KB on my C Drive. I take comfort in knowing that in round 2, I am still ahead of myself in round 1. The Disobedient Wife took 4 years to write, 2 to publish. Luckily, hair grows back; thicker, stronger.
Only do it if you love it. This is a writer’s life.
She is reading The Disobedient Wife! Cool 🙂
here is an experimental video portraying, in just one minute, little snap chats of a whole Friday in my life in Nepal. Hope you enjoy it!
aqui vai um video experimental que mostra, em só um minuto, pequenas cenas de uma sexta-feira inteira na minha vida no Nepal. Espero que gostem!)
This week I was lucky enough to be invited by the International Welcome Club of Trieste Region (IWCTR) to come and give a talk on my book, ‘The Disobedient Wife’.
The venue chosen, Cafe San Marco, is popular with Trieste readers and writers alike, with several literary events (as well as others, such as wine tasting), held every week. It is located in via Battisti 18. Founded in 1914, it became famous as a rendezvous for intellectuals and writers including Italo Svevo, James Joyce and Umberto Saba, a tradition that continues to date with Claudio Magris. A meeting point for Trieste’s irredentists, the café was destroyed by Austro-Hungarian troops during the first World War but was reopened when hostilities ended. Brass-coloured leaf motifs cover the ceiling and circular pictures of thespians and jesters adorn the walls like portholes looking into a different era.
One side of the cafe is for coffee drinkers, the other for books. Towards the back of the cafe there is a delightful space for presentations, and this is where our group met.
Around eighteen people came, some of whom struggled with the English, but who valiantly stayed to listen to the end. Others were British like myself, or long term expatriates from other countries living in Trieste, interested in hearing a talk about a little-known part of Central Asia. As usual, I showed my film, and explained the socio-political and economic situation in Tajikistan in the present day.
‘The Disobedient Wife’ is literary fiction rather than biography or travelogue, but it inspires discussion about traditional culture, religion and the fall of the USSR wherever I take it.
It was interesting to hear parallels drawn between the onset of fascism in Italy (and therefore, education for women frowned upon), and the situation in Tajikistan today with tradition overtaking the ‘Soviet’ ideal of egalitarianism between the sexes. As usual, I took away as many observations and knowledge for myself as I gave to others.
All in all, a great book talk. Thanks to IWCTR.
Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at Terry has been reading The Disobedient Wife by Annika Milisic-Stanley The Disobedient Wife by Annika Milisic Stanley 5 out of 5 stars Reviewed …
Today Tendayi Chirawu is featuring me on her blog:
A short essay on ‘Why I Write‘:
Lying in bed after a long run in the Italian morning sun with my laptop and a cup of English tea. Feeling the words form, the story lines merge. Using images of African queens for inspiration, researching witchcraft and confession, rebellion and refugee poetry. This is my idea of a heavenly day.
Silence, words, tea and time. No sound outside, except birdsong and the rustle of wind in leaves.
My book, ‘The Disobedient Wife’ by Annika Milisic-Stanley is published by Cinnamon Press Ltd (UK)
Last week I was contacted by Tajik journalist Khiromon Bakoeva at Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty and participated in an interview with her about ‘The Disobedient Wife, my debut novel on Tajikistan.
RFE/RL’s mission is to promote democratic values and institutions by reporting the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. Their journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate. To visit their website, click here.
I am very happy that I am finally starting to find a platform through which to reach Tajiks, especially, I hope, women. This is challenging as the country is far from open and without fluent spoken and written Tajik myself (I did speak it badly when I lived there but left 7 years ago) , it is not easy to reach people in the country. During the interview I encouraged any Tajiks listening to write, and publish, especially women. I wish my publisher would consider having the book translated into Russian and Tajik, but sadly I fear that financial constraints will not allow this to happen.
Khiromon asked me numerous questions:
Why I wanted to write about Tajik women… Because I think they are strong, brave and generally pretty awesome!
The disobedient wife is Nargis. Why is she disobedient?… Actually there are several in the book, but the Tajik woman named Nargis is disobedient because she has dared to leave her husband, thus becoming a figure of scandal and contempt in her community. The other wife is a British Expat.
Did I sense that radicalisation is a problem in Tajikistan and do I think women can help to solve this problem by talking to their sons?… certainly when I lived there no, Dushanbe was a secular, fairly safe place and people did not seem at all ‘radical'(willing to die for a cause), only traditional. There were isolated incidents targeting the Prime Minister but nothing major. This might have changed since… and yes, of course mother’s may be able to help persuading their sons not to go and fight in radical wars, but most importantly, something has to be done to help the youth to find jobs and build lives (Tajikistan is suffering now from the huge drop in the Russian ruble because so many families rely on remittances from Tajik workers in Russia). When people lack hope they are vulnerable to the excitement and opportunities they think may open up by fighting in a religious war. (We are seeing the same thing in Bosnia, another country with a crippled economy and high youth unemployment).
The book referenced the main character Nargis accusing international aid workers of partying all the time… This was just on one page and referenced her feeling of invisibility as a waitress at receptions for international expats. An ex-aid worker myself, I do think some of the ‘academics’ prefer to sit behind a computer with data, rather than get out and talk to the actual people they are helping, especially in countries without an acute emergency crisis, such as Tajikistan…
Use of Tajik words and phrases in the book, why?… To add richness to the language used, and to let the reader have a sense of the language. I love Tajik proverbs.
Have a good week.