This is a great week to be in Vilnius and to be participating in the Summer Literary Seminar. I’m really excited for tonight’s opening reception.
I’m presenting this week at two events:
Tuesday July 16th, 2:00 at Mokytojų Namai Room 219
Lecture: Trusting Oneself—Memory, Imagination and the Traumatized Writer.
(Open only to SLS participants)
This lecture will examine how a writer sees himself after experiencing a childhood trauma—be it abuse, war or some disaster—which interferes with his ability to clearly distinguish between memory and imagination. I’ll be talking about my battle with PTSD, and the difficulty this condition presents to a writer who wants to document and share his traumas.
Interestingly, my experience of PTSD has convinced me that the reason we see so few wartime narratives from the 1945 wave of Lithuanian displaced persons is not only because those memories are difficult to handle. They are also slippery, folded into and between fantasies and dreams, imagined episodes, some of them impossible distinguish as one thing or another.
It is easy to blame oneself for being a fool when we’re caught in such a psychic predicament. However, the relationship between memory and imagination is reciprocal, and we depend on our imaginations more than we depend on our memories to write, to create and to do our daily work.
Thursday, July 18th, 7:00 PM at Mint Vinetu Bookstore, Šv Ignoto 16
I’ll be reading selections from Finding the Moon in Sugar. It’s the only American cult novel ever set in Vilnius.
Also reading are Benas Januševičius, who’ll present translations of Linor Goralik’s poetry, and Alex Haberstadt, presenting works of non-fiction.
In celebration of Vilnius’ cultural diversity, this reading will be in English, Russian and Lithuanian. So bring your polyglot friends!