Saturday, November 8, 2014

INTERVIEW: KIKA STAYERMAN


Name?
Kika Stayerman
Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)
Thirty-Nine (Where did all that time go?...)
Location?
New York City
How long have you been writing?
In the house I grew up in the encyclopedia volumes were shelved in my room. I would read them from A to Z back and forth. I remember being enchanted by beautiful sentences, well constructed and balanced, but also sentences that say something meaningful, something revelatory.
As a teenager I started exploring writing as a way of yearning for something to feed fantasies in a world where everyone said things dryly.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I think there is something very permanent about the written word and for some reason the piece I am working on always has to have the ability to stand as the last thing I ever wrote.
Do you write as a career?
No and I wouldn’t want to. The sitting is killing me so everything else I do for a living is in motion.
Do you write full-time?
Writing is a way of being for me and I jot down notes daily but I am not anymore setting a schedule of hours to write. I found that when I did, I would sometime stare at the blank page for days and nothing would come to my mind. Then I would take a jog along the Hudson river and see so many artists practice tap dance, reading lines of scenes, stretching to their yoga asana or warming their voice, or I would walk in a very early hour through Times Square and watch tourists taking endless photos without really looking around them – all these make me return to my notebook with plethora of ideas.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Completing five full-length screenplays I am madly passionate about, through which I feel I managed to squeeze the essence out of life and I have a strong feeling they have the potential to get under the viewers’ skin.
Staying sane.
What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
Not to get published through the conventional publishing machine. I am not built for that kind of commitment, book tours, nonsensical interviews and temporary unjustified inflated attention.
Ultimately I wish to get back to my notebook and keep on writing. Also, I imagine that it is probably nice to get published, but that’s all it is – nice.
I do very much wish to see my screenplays performed on the big screen and have someone somewhere sitting in their home, reading a poem of mine and nodding their head ‘yes.’
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Not knowing all the words in the English language. I moved to NYC four and a half years ago and though I had what is considered a good English, it is not as rich as my native language. Ever since I am here I read, talk and write only in English and though I acknowledge the fact that my vocabulary has improved, still each day when I get my daily Wordsmith newsletter and find another word I did not know, I wonder when will I know them all.
What projects of yours have been recently published?
Other than publishing my work on my blog, a poem and an essay of mine will be published in the coming issue of And Then magazine.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
I am writing a series of comedy sketches for TV as well as revising poems, short films and full-length screenplays for submissions.
The comedy sketches came about after collecting countless notebooks with funny sketches from all types of situations I see around me over the past years. When you are a writer, you are constantly in search for stories. You read them, you eavesdrop to them, you take close looks. I notice things throughout my day; moments supply me with ideas and notes to develop about the human condition.
Also, I just love the idea that I can write a script and after it is been shot it become more than what I wrote. More than what I put there.

Where can we find your work?
I publish some of my poems and short stories on my blog at Who Seeks Finds.
  How often do you write?
Every single day. I never leave the house without a notebook, a pen and a book in my pocketbook.
How do you react to rejections?
I do a couple of push-ups or a downward dog. These give a new point-of-view.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
I first sit up more straight filled with content. Then I start doubting the seriousness of the publication.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Always do something physical.
Make sure that when you are ready to lift your head from your notebook, that there will be someone there at the end of the day. The time you will reminisce on will be time spent with friends and family, not that time when you were by yourself and you nailed that sentence. Lastly, something I know to be true: to do something well means to do it a lot.
What is your favorite book?
There’s always a new favorite. This is why these type of questions are so unfair to everyone I may forget to mention.
Who is your favorite author?
John Cheever, Witold Gombrowicz, Edouard Levé, William T. Vollmann, Norman Rush, Antonio Lobo Antunes, Michael Ondaatje, Dostoyevsky, Eugene Ionesco, E.B. White, Goethe, Roland Barthes, Adam Phillips, Don DeLillo, Henry Miller, Leonard Cohen, Isaac Babel, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, Charles Bukowski, Ismail Kadare.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Beowulf. Just for the chance to hear him talk in Old English.
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Too long of a solitude. Getting paralyzed over perfection. And too much sitting.
What is your favorite word?
UNBECOMING. Also FAMISHED and ENCHANTED and PECULIAR. They all roll so beautifully in one’s mouth.
What makes you laugh?
Animation movies, and cats.
What makes you cry?
I cry terribly easy, over everything. Over fanatics. Over injustice. Over enslavement of another human being or an animal. Over seeing someone walking a dog and pulling him impatiently while he tries to do his thing.
What is your preferred drink while you write?
Oh, water. Cold, fresh.
Beach or Mountains?
Beach.
Cats or Dogs?
Both, together, in bed.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
The Rolling Stones, most times.
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
The electrifying Jimi.
Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Each genius and his time.
Personal website/blog:
Facebook profile or page:
Yeah… no…
Twitter profile:
@KikaStayerman (https://twitter.com/KikaStayerman)
Other page(s) or profile(s):
Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals?
These things I know to be true about New York City:
1. When you live in a city where people are living as if nobody is watching, you see ugly things.
2. There is not a night of the week when you can't attend a reading in Brooklyn, or several.
3. NYC apartments are the most destructive, humiliating and depressive human compartments; they reinforce a collective faith that keeps nourishing its writers.
4. People love-to-love New York, but mostly they love-to-hate it. Still some will never let it go. Maybe they have a difficulty giving away the possibility to attend Paul Holdengraber meeting Jay-Z at the NYPL Events, or seeing Lena Dunham and Zadie Smith at the BAM or taking a selfie with Al Pacino after his play on Broadway or running to Sarah Jessica Parker in a coffee place in Little Italy or exchanging a laugh with Alec Baldwin at Nanoosh restaurant or even just walking past West 27th Street knowing this is where one of your most appreciated literary magazines is now sorting the recent submissions.
5. You can easily bump into someone famous simply because they live here.
6.  Very rarely will bumping into someone famous change your life or affect your career.
The reason for that is because the residents of New York who will bump into those famous individuals and actually expect that this will change their lives will most likely steal a snapshot with their phone and be busy in the next ten minutes sharing it on their social media platforms along with a caption that necessarily includes some version of the phrase ‘OMG!’ and by the time they finished looking at the first Likes and comments on all their social media platforms, they will look up and notice that famous individual had long gone and they missed yet another opportunity to live the moment.
7. People come with the notion that New York will be the Hawaii of the mind but the main thing the two have in common is coconut water on every second corner.
8. If you are a writer in New York, you are just another word between parentheses.
9. The world that was experienced by writers who lived in New York pre-Internet days was written so well because it was truly experienced rather than Googled.
10. The wonderful thing about living in New York is that there is a ton of talent, experience, broken hearts and starving stomachs waiting to get another gig, and this talent combined with disrupts passions and real hunger always creates something truly phenomenal and poignant.
11. The majority of New York Nine-to-Five workers are living in a TGIF state of mind. I find that terribly sad.
12. The art galleries talks scene in New York is like listening to Slavoj Zizek. No one knows what he is talking about and it’s all over the place.
13. In New York everything is misleading without necessarily be false.
14. I would sometimes spend days without saying one word aloud. I found that many New Yorkers are like me.
15. In New York you learn the secret of a great pizza: Its greatness is based on the moments and people spent having it with.
QUESTIONS: Please answer in 5 words or less:
1. Where do you live, city & country or state?
New York, NY, United States of America.
2.  If you had to live in any country besides yours, what would be your favorite & least favorite, in that order?
Canada or South Africa would be my favorites. China would be the least.
3. If you were stranded naked on a deserted island & were allowed one thing, what would it be? (No transportation allowed)
A company.
4.  If you could only choose one book as your favorite, what would it be?
Collected Poems by Ron Padgett (Coffee House Press, 2013).
5. If you could have a conversation with anyone, dead & alive, who would it be, in that order?
Rumi and David Foster Wallace.
6. What is your favorite movie & television show, in that order?
Sling Blade. The Sopranos, and anything with Matthew McConaughey.
7. If you found a magic lamp & got three wishes, what would they be?
Free all caged animals, find the song that will make all torturers stop torturing, make everything else right.

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