by Snezana Zabic

a note from the author

   Dear readers, This is the author herself now, an Earthling from former Yugoslavia. I'd like to make some things clear. First of all I DON'T believe in life after death, I'm not even preoccupied by that at all. I'm more like a Paul Mazursky's character screaming out loud "Oh, is there a life before death?!?!", for that matter. I just like to make up stories out of funny little ideas coming to me unexpectedly. Like for the story above. It came when I was seventeen (it was 1991), lying on the bed of my new home in Belgrade, feeling like an alien, an Extraterrestrial. I was listening to Minutemen, thinking about the man whose voice felt somehow real and close, (even though a crummy little cassette-player was all I had to play my tapes on, and it wasn't even mine) and his words made sense to me. And yet I never heard of him while he was alive, because I was just a child then, growing up in a small town on the other side of the world. When an idea for a story comes to me, I never write it down immediately, so I never remember what inspired it exactly. Most of the time I wait a while to see if it will stick with me. If it doesn't, then it's probably weak, or just plain stupid. If it does stick, soon I begin writing. The D. Boon-and-Suratas idea stuck. I was at my senior year of a Belgrade high-school when I began writing about D. Boon on another planet in a new life and stuff. I wrote a dozen versions, all melting into one another in process of creating and destroying various solutions - I had clons there for a while, a time machine, a couple of space ships, crazy love affairs, I even tried to write real scie-fi, explaining everything on the pseudo-scientific basis. I mean, I read Clark, Asimov, Sagan a lot, and they were real scientists, they knew what they wrote. But then there was Kurt Vonnegut, whom I read even more, and I decided it was O.K. not to worry about the scientific grounds. While I still wasn't sure what the story will look like when it is completely finished, I took the sketches of it and put up an English version so that Mike Watt could read it. I sent it to him and he replied to that in a letter to my brother (my brother was his pen-pal at that time, but that's another story), he said "tell your sister her story is beautiful". Okay. I could go on. I wrote what I thought was final version, if I remember well, before I went to university (1992). At the same time, I worked on some other (much more realistic) stories, and I wrote poems. (I always work on more than one story in the same period, I'm never satisfied, I rewrite parts of them, throw the characters in and out, trying to lose what's unnecessary and keep what's good, making the dialogues sound natural, etc. That's because I'm still learning to write and I'm strictly self-taught.) Years passed, I guess, and finally I got the opportunity to publish my stuff. First poetry, in magazines, and then (almost at the right moment, maybe a little early) I was offered to publish some of my stories in a little book (1996). This is strictly between you and me, please don't tell anyone: I was not totally ready for the book, I didn't have too many really good stories. But I decided not to let that chance slip by and I picked up the best of those I had, and worked on them some more. By that time, the D. Boon story got the narrator Kvand, which was THE final solution - I was not happy with telling in third person like I began. Also, I made Kvand give the story a new, double title, reflecting primarly Kvand's dilemmas, more than the situation I put D. Boon in. The book, titled simply "In a Lifetime", has 5 other stories ("Marina and the Sea", "Angel", "Merry Village", "The Table" and "Program: Sleep") and a motto, a line I took from a Minutemen song. It was not easy for me to translate "Far, Far Away or In a Lifetime" and even though I tried hard and used dictionaries, I'm sure that my translation is not of a very high quality, or fidelity to the original in every tiny detail as it should be. I don't think I'll do any more of translating from my native tongue (Serbo-Croatian) to a foreign language such as English, I'll wait until I'm a good and acclaimed writer and then professionals will do it for me. The reason I translated this one was my brother - he wanted to put some of my work in original and in English translation on his site. And I wanted to translate this particular story for Mike Watt to read (this final version). And also my friend Char can read it. And, anyway, it was kind of fun.

Snezana Zabic


aug 1997

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this page created 20 aug 97