Everyone Makes Their Own Choice Whether to Be Happy or Not

The technological revolution brought us into the virtual offshore of ideas

The writer Nedyalko Slavov:

Everyone Makes Their Own Choice Whether to Be Happy or Not

Slavov with the 2015 Helicon Award for new Bulgarian fiction for the novel “432 Hertz”

Автор: Tatyana Yavasheva

Nedyalko Slavov is one of the most successful contemporary Bulgarian writers.  He was born and lives in Plovdiv. He is the author of the novels “Piafè”, “The Bell”, “Faustino”, “432 Hertz”, “Portrait of the Poet as a Young Man”, “Vertigo”, the poetry collection “Marble Years”, the plays “Alaska” and “Stock Exchange for Corpses”, the collection “Stories about Philipopolis”. His works are translated into English, German, Russian and Greek.

He has received many awards for his books, including the Bulgarian National Award for Literature - Hristo G. Danov (2011, 2016), the Helikon Award (2015, 2016), The Flower of Helicon Award (2017), the Ivan Nikolov Award, the Plovdiv Award and others.

Mr Slavov, you are among the few contemporary Bulgarian writers who live by their highly artistic writings. How do you make it happen?

I admit that I was curious how our conversation will begin. How can we combine literature and good accurate calculations? And you start with a question that hits the mark. I will answer you this way: I make it happen thanks to my readers. If there are readers, there are sales. And if there are sales, the writer manages to secure their modest finances. The book market in Bulgaria is very small and one needs to be very lucky, but for now, I somehow do it. I also thank my publisher. To live by your writings, apart from being attractive, is also worthy. It makes you independent. Because the quiet death of every writer comes from their lack of freedom. And it is called dependence. From money, conjuncture, manipulators.

You are the winner of very significant national awards for literature. Are they your best ad?

They are undoubtedly a springboard. Yes, they make you popular, but for a short time. It has been said: God helps those who help themselves. Because the book has its own strange and always absolutely independent fate. This is a phenomenon. A book may be praised, overpraised, showcased from one TV studio to another, shoved in the reader’s throat, and still it may not work. In literature, lies live a short life. Popularity, of course, occurs also in other non-literary ways. Now, for example, if I curse a colleague and say how untalented they are, even if I have every reason to say so, that is, if I make a loud and overexposed media scandal, you understand that I will focus the attention on myself and will easily sell one or two circulations. But this is not my way as a writer.

How do you reach readers? What is your way?

I don’t have official TV speakers and programs, I don’t have official lawyers and defence attorneys. And I don’t need them. My talent, the love of my readers and the independent, smart and honest literary criticism is what keeps me going. That’s why I’m free, without dependencies. My books go from hand to hand. I was deeply touched recently – there were 16 readers listed for “The Bell” in a library. There were also people waiting for “Piafè”, “432 Hertz” and “Faustino”. This is the real life of a book.

How does a valuable book become popular?

By surviving the natural selection. When time sifts it through.

Many people write today. What do you think about that?

Let them write. It’s better than rubbing coupons of games of chance. There is no power to stop them, anyway.

You say that as money has lost its golden covering, so are people losing their spiritual equivalent today. Why does the spiritual lose the battle for values?

Let’s not rush it. This battle is not over yet. Between the Good and the Evil. But one thing is true – the world is becoming more and more virtual. And we fall into the virtual offshore of foreign, transhuman, ominous insinuations. Insinuations about us, about our sexes, our values, about ourselves, us, who are created by a divine design. See the paranoia around us. Thirty sexes, numbers instead of daddy and mummy. Jean Coctea has a thought – “The Sleep of Reason gives birth to monsters”. Well, now the monsters of reason are among us, in real life.

You send messages through your books. Do you believe that the writer’s idiomatic language can have such a powerful impact that it can lead to a change?

The bell is heard by people who need to hear it. A great audibility has that vibration that answers worrying questions. True literature resonates at such a frequency.

What do your writer’s senses capture in this rapidly changing world?

By its false messages, the world today has surpassed everything that has been known so far. But the most dreadful is the laboratory eugenics, the replacement of man’s divine genetic code. Orwell’s books are turning into childhood stories today.


Why do people give up their humanity?

They don’t give it up. They refuse it. This is a daily, every-minute, manipulative process.

As a child, I was like a blackbird in the wood. Part of nature, dissolved in nature. I wandered all day long along Maritsa, on the hills of Plovdiv, or in my village, along dams and meadows. The sensory world is the greatest thing for a child. It is there that the future person is formed. It is there that we stand up to the sun’s vertical line. This strive to move towards the light is called heliotropism. It also brings the plants and the grasses up near the sky. Alas, children today have no childhood. They have no heliotropism in their bodies. The matrix has swallowed them like Moloch. They don’t resemble birds of God, but mechanical toys wound with a key. Technology has sucked us in the darkness of our own skull. If you enter the virtual space, there is no way out. It is like the Minotaur’s labyrinth. It’s the same in the world of money. If you become their slave – it’s over, you become a tinkling sound of a coin, you are done. Look! There is no creature in nature that lives on credit. And we seem to live not on the Earth, but on the Planet of Interest. We are a walking interest.

What is the good thing about this new time, about the present day?

That everything starts from the beginning. That you breathe. That in the morning, your street smells of warm bread and coffee. That your favourite people are around you. That you are alive. That you want to fly. That you might fall in love. That you will finish your novel. That you will plant a tree. That people love you. These are the good things in each day given by God.

If you can still choose the time you live in, which one would you prefer?

The time of peace.

What is your optimism hanging on?

A complex question with a simple answer. Every day God gives us a new game. One chooses on their own whether to be happy in it.

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