vr banner19

reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Photo by Michelle Playoust
I wrote most of this book during the pandemic and finished it during the last Sydney lockdown. With the daily statistics of deaths as a backdrop it was impossible not to ponder on our own mortality, disappearance, the body as a home for memory, the inevitable fact that if I die now – if we die – there will be no one to tell our story. Writers have two important tools – language and memory. I write so I can remember, and I write to not forget.

Photo by Regimantas Tamošaitis
I think that schools and universities as well as other educational institutions need societies like that – not to cultivate some higher level of artistry but to develop a humanitarian environment – where people learn to discuss, be silent, listen, and talk about important things. In other words, where they can get that sense of community that every lover of literature, or any true individualist, secretly thinks about. We write in solitude, but the sense of being in a safe environment for showing and discussing our work is equally important.

Dominykas (29), Greta (29), and Dorotėja (1) in front of the Cologne Cathedral,  Germany, 2022. Photo credits: personal archive.
As we thought about the name for the association, we knew that we want to connect ourselves to Vilnius. The city has had a lovely legend from the Middle Ages about the basilisk of Vilnius – with time, the basilisk became known as a friend of the city’s residents rather than a dangerous beast, and seeing it was known to be a sign of good fortune. Thus, we interpreted the basilisk in our own way as a patron of literature, writers, and translators, while in our view every poet and translator became the basilisk’s ambassador.

Kerry Shawn Keys. Druskininkai, Lithuania, 2021. Photo by Vladas Braziūnas.
I have people visiting me – Martin Heidegger came and we talked about the Black Forest and Celan. Li Po comes sometimes, Hanshan, and we get drunk on moonshine with my friend Sergej Jeriomenko. Omar Khayyam and Chorizo and Ko come a lot because they like currant and apple wine.

Photo by Dainius Dirgėla
Surely we remember the last couple of years, with all that talk about 5G, the pandemic madness, and all the conspiracy theories. One insane theory is replaced by an even madder one. These theories are what influence large numbers, even masses of people. All the while the sphere of poetry, however small, I think, still holds sway over its people, perhaps even exercising its ability to change them.

Photo by Dainius Dirgėla
I wrote this three years ago: “Nature can bid us farewell quietly, easily. Our vacation here will end here and now, in the most surprising of ways.
I do not try to oppose culture/civilization with nature. I sometimes think though, perhaps we should be a little slower, more silent? More humble? Can we not feel how the axle on the rollercoaster ride is starting to break?

Photo by Anton Lukuszevieze
We litter our virtual world as much as the physical one. It gets more and more difficult to find anything genuine in this torrent, especially when those pesky search engines think they know better what you really want. My way of dealing with this torrent of information is to deconstruct it by appropriating it and using it in my work.

Photo by Dainius Dirgėla
I believe everything lacks resonance these days: not just the outstanding literary writing and prominent figures who remain on the sidelines, but also those positioned very close to the “mainstream.”

It seems to me now that by discovering the things that naturally captivate your attention, but through the lens of science, philosophy, or politics, you acquire immense power and become more conscious. You finally find a way to discuss these topics with others. Without that, everything is relegated to the level of emotions and hunches, and maybe that is a very vulnerable position.

So, when we change our mode of speech, or if we manage to find a more personal, routine, micro-perspective for a global topic, we imbue it with a new quality. Tones, half-tones, shadows, variations between humor and (self-)irony—these are very important tools for me both in life and in my creative pursuits.

Photo by Regimantas Tamošaitis
And yet I ask myself: is there a person in this world whose life can’t be portrayed both in one way and another? Both strange, intriguing and a participant in various events, and at the same time as completely boring? Most likely there is no such person. The writer only needs to make the right choice of viewpoint. 


logo lktlogo momuzAsociacija LATGA logo vilnius




logo lrsThe Lithuanian Culture Institutelogo lim

Write us