Smoking With Ania Vesenny

Read the Story March 15, 2006
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A minimalistic style places so much emphasis on the objects and details it chooses to reveal. “So much depends/ upon/ a red wheel/ barrow,” so sayeth W.C. Williams. What sayeth Ania?

When I write, the significance of each detail often becomes apparent only after the words have formed an image. An example from the first piece: “The leaves are dry, but the dirt underneath is muddy.” When I was writing I was immersed in the physical environment of my character, but of course there is more to it. “Muddy things underneath” describes the girl’s relationship with her mother and grandmother. I am fascinated with how meanings emerge. I believe this happens because our subconscious is such a powerful thing.

Don Paterson—who has written a thing or two about poetry—argues that “prose evokes; the well-chosen word describes the thing,” but “poetry invokes; the memorable word conjures its subject from the air.” What does your writing do? What invocations are at work in this piece—and in your writing in general?

I think my writing is a blend of prose and poetry, so hopefully it both evokes and invokes. I like to leave the space for the reader to fill in the details according to his or her experiences.

“Her earlobes are like raindrops.” Just gorgeous, haunting, original images. From where do they arrive to you?

Thank you, Randall. I draw my energy from nature, and my writing energy from observing people. When I write, I try to really see my subjects. I close my eyes, and I deconstruct. And then I put it all back together. This may sound technical, but this process is extremely enjoyable and rewarding for me. It is meditation.

Have you found certain images, people, archetypes, themes appearing in several of your writings? Which ones? And what do their re-occurrences mean?

Children’s literature was excellent in the USSR, and I identified with the imaginary characters who lived in the 1940s and 1960s. Yet even as a child I knew that their world was different from what the books told me. I remember reading Yevgenia Ginzburg’s Into the Whirlwind (her experiences in the gulag) when I was eleven years old. The dichotomy between the real and the constructed has always fascinated me.

My memories of the architecture, the nature, the culture, the people are fragmented and have a surreal quality about them. I can trace the themes of betrayal and belonging in many of my writings.

You’re all about flash fiction—writing it, reviewing it, reading it, and even editing it with Vestal Review. Why? What’s the draw? What’s got you so flash fiction crazy?

I enjoy finding the right words and images. I love to challenge myself and the reader with what is implied, the layers of meaning. And of course when I started reading SmokeLong, I was even more inspired to write flash. I am excited and honoured to have my work here.

About the Author:

Ania Vesenny born and raised in the former USSR. Her flash fiction has appeared in Per Contra, FRiGG, Dogzplot, elimae, and elsewhere. Before moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia, she lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut.