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Of course there are divinities everywhere, arenít there? At least Pan, who obviously never actually died. At least the divinities that Baudelaire tells us to call to, when we wake up hazy and fuzzy-mouthed somewhere, not quite still drunk -- the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock -- all of the things in the world that fly (or in some translations, all things that flee -- fuit: avoid, escape, flee, cut-and-run) -- all of the things in the world that groan or roll or sing or speak. If we ask them what to do, Baudelaire says, theyíll tell us to get drunk again. To just stay drunk, on wine or on poetry or on virtue.
"A global literature is vitally important because it re-imagines our own planet a billion times a second, blurring truth, and giving the human imagination a constantly new earth-model from which to learn from; while the literature of coteries and/or 'writing-groups' write with their face in the mirror, not, as they should, with their back to it. To maintain an 'internationalist approach' as you put it is to ignore even the existence of such insularity. As I have stated in the editorial of issue 3 of the magazine, 'accessibility' is not only the death knell of 'invention,' but it is also a great semantic immobilizer, proposing a window that is, in truth, already a brick wall, a slow act of mental barbarism, caged in by habit, preference and a bungling sociability. Reasons enough to look 'beyond' the ontology of any one continent I should think."
Jan Morris wrote somewhere that when she (she might have been†he†back then, and†"James") visited Mostar, she felt the pull of the east, of Islam. There was seduction in all that shaded indolence, the cold green waters, coffees that last hours, the muezzin's mystical yowl that summons up the desert sands from a thousand miles away. Part of the allure of Bosnia for westerners, I think, has been the surprising nearness of the East. To put it more bluntly, and problematically: in Bosnia the East is tamed, less scarily dogmatic. You wander the stony streets, look at one of the divers plunge from the Old Bridge, take a picture striped with minarets and fringed with snowcapped mountains, buy something quite foreign-looking from the little shops, and an hour later you're among Venetian cathedrals of the Dalmatian coast.
Having some kind of moral lesson is something I am often asked to think about by my editors and publishers. I donít know. Itís actually been a while since I wrote something for young adults, so I havenít had to think about it. Iíve been writing more stuff for adults thatís dark and violent and can have sex in it if I want and I donít have to worry about whether Iím going to get shut out of the school library. But I always end up with kind of a moral -- because when Iím writing Iím trying to work out what the right way to be is, or some kind of truth of the world. Maybe itís just a lesson for myself, and not for other people.
"Most people in Britain at least aren't what you'd call traditional believers, not regular attendees at worship services or people who pray every day. The shopping mall doesn't cut it as a replacement for synagogue, the beach holiday is no hajj, the TV doesn't give us the guidance of an inspiring sermon. So I think that there's an interest now in going back to look at those old faith systems in a more mature way. Not treating them as untouchable eternal truths, but as tools, things we can remix and reevaluate. Which is where novelists come in, saying, 'you've always thought about the story this way, but how about taking it that way? You thought this was a story about misogyny or repression and found it useless and offensive, but if we just rewrite it a little bit, we can turn it into something really inspiring and spiritual.'"