Conversation with the writer Aleksandra Nashevska – Ann Igma: The word means life to me

"Corridor to amnesia" is the second novel by Aleksandra Nashevska - Anne Igma

Under the pseudonym Anne Igma, the writer Aleksandra Nashevska published the novels "Vocabularis" and "Hodnik kon amnesia", both published by "Templum", and her paths of creation also lead her to a third book.

The first reader encounter with Ann Igma happened with the novel "Vocabularis", where she created a unique world of words. The action in her second novel "Corridor to Amnesia" takes place in a mental institution and the reader often crosses the border between reality and fiction, trying to find out the true fate of the main character Slobodan. Both works are a real challenge to meet the author Aleksandra Nashevska – Anne Igma.

The publishing house "Templum" published your second novel "Corridor to Amnesia". How was the process of creating and publishing the work?

- The path of creation of any essence that springs from the whiteness of nothingness on the blank pages of an unwritten book is incredible. It was the white of the blank screen before I wrote Hallway to Amnesia, the white that contained all the colors that awakened in me a rainbow of emotions that I turned into verbal experiences for the reader. Of course, a lot of research was required to complete such an undertaking, but I enjoy every moment of my internet browsing, although the life of a writer is such – if one were to analyze our internet browsing history, one might be amazed at the ingenuity. , but also to detain us for questioning because of the bizarreness of the information we need to get into the character of some of the characters in our books. Just kidding, of course. I enjoyed every moment, from the first written letter to the questions that readers ask me, namely - when the third book will be ready. We have excellent cooperation with "Templum". They are responsible for publishing the book and its distribution, and the book can also be found in "Ili-Ili" and "Bukva" bookstores.

The action in the novel "Hallway to Amnesia" takes place in a mental institution / Illustration: Vane Kosturanov

The main action in the novel takes place in a mental institution. Where did the urge to write about a person's mental states come from?

- Simple - each of us has our own mental state. It is matter that changes. (Sometimes roses bloom for us, and sometimes we think it's the end of the world.) I believe that a writer has the responsibility to bring us the reality that we do not see, just as a journalist has the responsibility to bring us the news that we are not. heard them, just as everyone has a responsibility to be the best version of themselves.

I got an urge to write about the fringes of society – the mental institution – which ultimately strips away any credibility that that same society demands from its members. I chose to write about the machinery of a society that allows the marginalization of its members, its "cogs" without protecting them (and thereby protecting itself) from corrosion.

Is the story based on a true incident or is it shaped by fictitious thoughts about possible events in an imaginary world?

– The story is based on a true incident. I went to visit the "Skopje" psychiatric hospital in Bardovci so that I could create a realistic picture that would give me a basis for the action. Of course, in the writing process fictitious elements were added, mainly at the end of the story, which I will not reveal, but I will say that it awakens feelings of hope that someday the morning is smarter than the "blackest night" of our psyche, so we can wake up to a reality that seems distant to us.

In the novel "Vocabularis" a unique world of words is created

In the previous novel "Vocabularis" you created your own world of words. What feeling does each spoken or written word evoke in you?

- Yes, "Vocabularis" is, in fact, the world of words in which they, like us humans, live lives not so parallel to ours. Each of them is their own individual with moral and ethical convictions far more perfect than those we practice here on Earth.

The word means life to me. Starting from writing, up to daily communication with people, I perceive every word as my ally in the goals I want to achieve. And I always remind myself to be grateful for this human power, which we still have, and which we can so easily lose if we are the character from "Hallway to Amnesia", whose stigma robs him of his credibility. I believe that Vocabularis – or the entire stock of words – is a world that is intertwined with ours and we can learn a lot from their set of simple rules based on morals and ethics about how we can influence the community through words. I believe that our children will benefit the most from the love of properly chosen words, which will influence their growth and development, and thus the growth and development of the society they will one day lead.

How does the intimate process of creating your works take place and do you have your own creative point where thoughts flow most easily?

- Each of my "writings" came about in a different way. I believe that I as a person grow and develop, and writing is my free zone where I can experiment with the different styles that are interesting to me at a certain period of my life. I am only careful about my belief that artistic creation, like any other, should know limits in terms of not breaking norms at all costs, due to the fact that some norms actually make sense. In that sense, I would say that I believe in that "golden mean" of ours, which is intriguing to me because of the possibility of interwoven humor that I enjoy inserting into my books. My creative point is the blank sheet – I simply want to add to the white the only color of the spectrum that it lacks – black – so I string letters. "It's all when it's all," right?

Readers recognize you by the pseudonym Ann Igma, and you first write your works in English, and then translate them yourself into Macedonian. For what purpose?

– The goal is simple, but also complicated. It's simple – I think in English when I'm in front of a blank sheet of paper – something that's left me as a professional deformity from my university days. The goal is more complicated… all with the hope that the books will be more easily marketed in wider spaces, as is the case with Vocabularis.

(The conversation was published in "Cultural Press" No. 164, in the print edition of the newspaper "Free Press" on January 28-29, 2023)

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