Friday, December 25, 2009

A Conversation with Angels

This was the story I contributed to the Metazen Christmas Charity Book.

A Conversation with Angels

She insists she’s late because of the angels.

She tells me they’re white and have dark faces. They keep her company before school. When they do, she oversleeps and misses the bus.

They are silent. They never say a word. They don’t know that her mother beats her, that her father spits and drinks.

I teach her words like iridescent, redolence, unutterable, so she’ll impress the mute angels while they sit around her, speechless with amazement, sipping rosewater cordial or mint tea.

Nora Nadjarian

Other contributors include Cynthia Reeser, Tania Hershman, Finnegan Flawnt, Frank Hinton, Gerry Hayes, Katie McCullough, xTx, Boudreau Freret and Paul Handley. You can read all the stories here.

All proceeds will go to the Sunrise Children’s Village Orphanage in Siam Reap, Cambodia. If you would still like to donate, click here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hello Poetry, My Old Friend

I haven't written a new poem for some time now, and recently I've been digging out some old ones for various Fictionaut projects.
I've always wanted to read a poem of mine on video.
And finally I have done it.
"Three Facts" was one of the first poems I ever wrote (2001) and remains one of my favourites.

THREE FACTS read by yours truly.

Finnegan Flawnt reads Nora Nadjarian

Surprising and lovely. Inspiring and sexy. Incredible...
Well, if you ask the ladies, anyway.
I'm talking about the voice of Finnegan Flawnt, writer and reader extraordinaire, mentioned before on this blog. He is German, married to an American, lives in Berlin and his name is a pseudonym.
And I was delighted when he said he could relate to my poem and would like to read it.

"Mother Tongue" is a poem I wrote in 2003, at a time when I was considering mother and other tongues. Ironically, I wrote it back then as if my mother tongue was German (which it isn't) and I think it's befitting that a native German gets to read it so beautifully. Et voila, here it is,
MOTHER TONGUE read by Finnegan Flawnt.

Mother Tongue

by Nora Nadjarian

Which language do you dream in,

swear in, cry in, asked the questionnaire.

How many languages do you swim in,

drown in, breathe in, mime in?

Do you know how many tongues have adopted

your voice? And when at night you stare

at dark walls and one pair of lips

comes closer, whispering in perfect German

Ich bin deine Mutter -

Or the night shadows enlarge into a Fritz Lang

open scream and Muttersprache appears

on the silent movie screen, then:

what do you reply? In which language,

and how clearly, do you say: my mother tongue

is somewhere in the recesses of my mind.

I am not an orphan. I have a mother.

She put me to bed one night

and went away. The film we made

together has long been silent. But I still

hear her voice in the keyhole of my heart.

© Nora Nadjarian

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Lucky Day

OK. I knew it was going to take place

Time: December 16, 2009 from 6:30pm to 7pm (U.S. Pacific Time)
Location: at the Folded ning
Organized By: J.S. Graustein

Event Description:
Announcement and unveiling of the video depiction of the winning works for 3Cheers Autumn 2009.

I did some quick calculations in my head (yeah, right) and worked out that 6:30pm U.S. Pacific Time on December 16 translated as 4:30am Cyprus time on December 17. I went to bed thinking: I'll never get up on time. I'll never win. I'll never have the pleasure of knowing how other people might visualize my story ZOO. I'll neverzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

A miracle happened. I jumped out of bed at exactly 4:30am, I started chatting online straight away with some wonderful people on another continent... They were surprised that I'd got out of bed for this, "That's dedication for you" somebody said, I was thinking this is fun. Then Jessi said the results were now officially announced and we should go and look at the video. The first still of the video was of a ... pelican! My heart started beating faster. I felt like a bloody kid about to open a parcel to find the exact same Xmas present they had asked for... And "OH MY GOD" I wrote. "Are you wide awake now?" somebody asked... We had virtual fireworks and drank virtual champagne. I'm telling you this was the best literary fun I've had in a long time. Thank you, Jessi, and to all those who voted for my story. Congratulations to the other two winners: Linda Leedy Schneider’s for “To Yesterday’s Poem” and xtx for “Better Things”.
And here it is, that lovely video which made my day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Cat Story

This is my favourite story of the week.
It was written by N. God Savage, a writer from Northern Ireland, and was inspired by "L'Etranger", a novel by Albert Camus - one of my all-time favourite books for its sheer, heart-breaking economy of words. Here is the story CAT. I especially love the last line!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Calendars and... Second Tongue

I've been busy with all sorts of projects lately.
The UNHCR calendar project is coming to an end. Hopefully I'll soon be able to tell you about a beautiful 2010 calendar of poems I helped to select. More on that later.

Something totally wonderful and unexpected this week: I found out that my talented (and funny) Fictionaut buddy Finnegan Flawnt who writes in flawless, in fact, German! Together with the brilliant Dorothee Lang (designer of the lovely logo you can see above) who is also a German writing in English, they invited me to set up the group "Second Tongue" on Fictionaut- a group for bilingual/multiligual writers. To give you a taste, here is a section of our group description:

"...It doesn't matter to us whether your first language is French, Chinese, Greek, Swahili, Italian, Urdu, or any other of the world's groovy languages:

Make this your home, share your English writing and discuss with us what it means, for you, not to write in your mother tongue.

We also welcome native English speakers, who live and write abroad or who write in another language than English..."

So happy to be a part of this! We hope to get many members, and I know there are a lot of people out there writing in a "second tongue". Watch this space.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And the winner is...

Metazen is an online fiction zine that publishes short fiction and poetry by various authors. In November, it launched a contest asking authors to write 3-sentence stories based on a number of selected pictures. I entered for the fun of it and was delighted to get an honourable mention for "Wolf".

Here is my personal favourite- a story I wrote, inspired by the photo on the left.


Many centuries later the world turned green, and the girl wanted to be a tree.
She selected a leaf at random and whispered to it.
I am Eve, don’t you recognize me?

Here is my story "Wolf" inspired by this photo:


Of course there will be other lives.

Then why do I stand facing my end as if it was calling me from my past, howling like a snowstorm of love and hate and cold and right and wrong, crying with me and laughing at my regret and confusion, reminding me of everything on this earth that I never underst

The whiteness enters me, and all I know is that there was once a girl I should never have touched.

Congratulations to all, and especially to the winner Finnegan Flawnt, whose entry you can read here. Other notable entries by Ani Boghossian, Cyn Kuhn, Matthew Hamilton, Boudreau Freret and Katie McCullough.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two Disappointments and... a Delight

I have not made it into the Red Issue of The Fairy Tale Review. Nor have I made it into the Cinnamon Press Micro-Fiction Anthology, but...

...within minutes of getting the two rejections above, I got this delightful e-mail from Folded Word:

If you are receiving this email, then your work has been nominated by our editors for 3 Cheers Autumn 2009. Sadly, there's no monetary prize if you win. But you will get your work made into a video that will broadcast on our YouTube channel, ning, and blog to show off to your family, friends, and fans. All the nominated works are listed below my signature.

The final winners will be chosen by our readers. Campaigning is allowed, so share the voting link with your faithful followers:

It's my story ZOO!

Ten at Folded Word

It has been a week of publications, lectures, appearances and ... questions.
Here is everything you ever wanted to know about me as a writer.
I have answered ten questions put to me by Jessi Graustein of Folded Word. I, their "only Cypriot contributor thus far", have answered humorously but truthfully. Click here to see my answers:

I also seem to have made an appearance in Ethel Rohan's blog. Ethel is a San Francisco based author whose work I have admired online. She comments on my story Gardening in the latest issue of "elimae". Thanks, Ethel!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

elimae, finally

YAY! I am finally in the brilliant "elimae".
After two or three attempts and rejections, I had almost given up. Until the editor, Cooper Renner, finally said: "Let's do Gardening for the December issue..."
I knew it would be up some time today but had forgotten about it, until my Fictionaut friend, prolific and excellent writer Dave Erlewine sent me a message saying how much he liked it.
Here is my story, Gardening.