About me

Born in a country that doesn’t exist any more, to an extinct nation and speaking a dead language, that’s briefly about me… and just about anyone from former Yugoslavia.

By the age of 15 i knew we lived in a lie – what we were thought in the school was so obviously false that it hurt; what was even worse than that was the process of witnessing the people adapting to the lie, more so – adopting the lie and presenting it as their personal truth, albeit they knew all the way that you knew all the time that it was a lie.

(What i did not know  back than was that it would end up in tears and blood… Somewhere at the time when i reached late teen age – it could be already smelled in the air, some kind of fatalism blended with the sour smell of things going wrong, very wrong.)

And it’s not true – the romanticized version which says they had to, out of fear, out of hopelessness… No, most did it clear-headed to get the benefits and advantages of the party-endorsed writers and “thinkers” and whatnot.

It was the easy way out, the easiest way to earn a living… Truth is always taking you up the hill – and the climb is often rough, while the lie is an easy ride down… all the way down to hell, however you imagine one.

Being schooled in the Soviet system i was thought there is nothing for me in the rotten West – and its only my inexplicable back then desire to learn English language that took me there, to the West where this alien to us people, known as Westerners  lived…

My world spoke Russian and English language was not in vogue in our parts, hence my desire was perceived as yet another capprice of a brat born to a family of “red bourjois” – an only daughter in a family of a communist leader… it took me a lot of persuading, manipulation and even (sic) a hunger strike – to make my parents send me to a college in London.

The West held a shock for me – and not merely a cultural one; a kind of shock that’s difficult to explain in the post cold-war world and more so – in the age of internet.

The class differences – those i’ve never faced  before; the reality of private property either.

Yugoslavia, being somewhere half-way between the East and West did have private property – but only in terms of owning the land and small businesses – when i first saw a big sign PRIVATE PROPERTY/KEEP OUT on a huge mansion, i was flabbergasted.

When at  Miss Selfridge window i saw a Rembrandt’s style black velvet cap  that costed what i knew was a decent monthly income in UK back then, i knew it for myself that the West was living its own lie – very different than ours, but still a lie.

I was taken aback by Hyde Park’s talking corners – back than in ex-Yu the law on verbal delict would put you in jail for badmouthing the communist leader(s), even if drunk and in a pub.

It’s ages later that i realized the infamous verbal delict was – albeit a sick – way of paying respect, you see those in power actually sincerely feared the power of the spoken world and you – the ordinary guy who had this potentially fatal power – you were aware of it, and spoke in a low voice and you knew that your word – a word – did matter.

Little did i know back than that the brave in my eyes speakers in the Hyde Park – were by most considered to be – fools and that the more they spoke, the more their word, and the primordinary word  was loosing its power…

It’s there, in London, during 80ies that i got introduced to Silva Method and that would be my first encounter with a systematical teaching and practice of the use of so-called extra-sensory phenomena; my mother being from what once was Austrian-Hungary, i was already acquainted – since early childhood – with divination, cartomancy, spiritism and coffee residue readings.

From there my life will continue in two parallel dimensions – the public one where i pursued education and a career in Foreign Service, and a private, hidden one which included studying and practicing the occult; at the age of thirty, having achieved quite a high rank in the State Protocol – i did the unthinkable – having realized that this dichotomy will be pushing me into ever darker depression, i left my job, the comfort of my home, packed a rucksack and left to China.

It’s there that i started writing and it became the road to my personal salvation; for me writing is not a mean to an end – its the process itself that has the cathartic effect i still need so badly.

I published  three  books so far and a novelette; my first books – ‘The Archetype of Miracles’ and ‘Io Triumpe’ are collections of short stories , while the third one – ‘Devil, an unauthorized biography’ that was published December 2011 is a book of poetry – all have received quite unexpected for me critical acclaim and have earned me a status i never even dreamed of – of a writer endorsed by the national Ministry of Culture.

I am currently living between Montenegro, where is my home and Moscow, Russia – where i am working on a PhD thesis in linguistics at State Pushkin University.

p.s.  Two years later, nothing much changed, except that i’ve published couple of books and was included in some super cool anthologies:

Poetry – The Color of Change (Gligorije Dijak, 2013)

First Anthology of Montenegrin poetry written by women: Koret on the Asphalt (National Community of Croatian Montenegrins and Scanner Studio, Zagreb 2013)

Novelette “New Testament”, Best European Fiction 2014 ( Dalkey Archive Press, USA)

in print (non-fiction) : Social Function of Russian Language in Contemporary Montenegro (MAKS Press, MGU, Moscow)


62 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Hi MDR!
    Reading this my heart goes out to you and my respect is growing a couple of dimensions! Much love! Mi-Shell

  2. .traveller. said:

    It’s so good to find your voice out here, I missed your intelligence and candor.

  3. Susan Gunter said:

    I loved reading this! You have led a fascinating and brave life. . . I am hoping to meet you tomorrow night at 6 PM at American Corners, for my creative writing class. I don’t know if I would have anything to teach you, but it would be wonderful if you would come sometimes and share your own ideas. In any case, I hope you will come–and I hope we can have coffee soon! Vidimo se i bravo!
    Susan Gunter
    P.S. I am on Facebook if you have time or the inclination to friend me. . .

    • Susan, i am so excited to meet you! And my mother is already asking when will you come for lunch – that’s the local way 😉 I know that you are involved already with Nksic’s University, but we (Writer’s Guild) would also like to present you to local public as an author while you are here! So many things to do – i think you will have very little free time during your stay here lol! Fb request sent and see you tomorrow at 6pm at American Corner!

      • Susan Gunter said:

        I loved your book “The Devil; An Unauthorized Biography”–chestitem! It is such a beautiful book; I have not seen many similar kinds of books in the West. What an achievement. I am honored to have an autographed one–hvala lepo! I will see you again soon–vidimo se!

      • Thank you, dear Susan! I am honored by your kind words! Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

  4. Susan Gunter said:

    Hvala lepo, Lena! I would love to meet you and your mother, and of course the Writer’s Guild. That would be a great honor for me. . .
    Vidimo se sutra i laku noc!

  5. I knew you were unique, and I intuited that there were many things I didn’t know about you. Some of them are here, and it’s fascinating.

    • Awildart – we all are, indeed we are! Every individual destiny is a miracle and a great novel of its own… Viewed with regular eye-sight – mine was rather dull and boring, there were so many more happier, freer and more beautiful places to be than Easter Block during cold war and Yugoslavia during wars… but that’s the only hand i was dealt – so i had to find magic in it… Thank you, much appreciated!

  6. Hello! Is your name Ruth? I find your writings to be very thought-provoking and honest. It is easy to live a lie and easy to have the facade of conform to placate those who rule over you… but, as you so rightly point out, it is hypocrisy and this energy will poison your soul. Love reading your blog! Refreshing, riveting and full of eager description that speaks loudly to me. Love, light and blessings!

  7. You have led a fascinating life, and speak with such openness. Best wishes.

    • Thank you Elisabeth! Sadly, there was little objectively fascinating growing up behind the iron curtain – most of my memories are colored grey and smell of fear, but i really dag deep to find some magic where we lived at the time… I really believe we carry that in us, this potential , and can ‘activate’ it under most of the circumstances – of course it’s way better to be in free and happy countries 😉

  8. fivereflections said:

    Very interesting story

  9. petit4chocolatier said:

    You are a beautiful person and I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing.
    Love your blog and the person behind it!

  10. Wow, you have had a very interesting journey! Your life perspective must be very unique. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    • Thank you, Denise! The world is very different now – and thanks goodness for that! Internet made a huge difference, it’s not divided anymore. Now everyone interacts freely, without censors, without fear – i do remember though my high school friend from then Eastern Germany, who had to burn a letter she had received from a guy from the Western part, she was afraid her parents would get persecuted if it was discovered she received a letter from “the enemy”… Stuff like that. I had crossed from “Eastern” to “Western” Germany myself in 1983, via the infamous wall – and i can’t be happier that such “adventures” are not an option anymore… Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  11. That is such a different world…it’s hard to fathom sometimes. The dad of a childhood friend told me the story of he and his uncle making their escape over the wall in the 40’s I believe. The uncle was shot and killed, my friend’s dad was only around 9 years old. It haunted him his whole life.
    I admire your strength to choose a different life.

    • Oh, i didn’t live in Eastern Germany, i only traveled there; i am from former Yugoslavia, it was different, borders were opened – it’s that for my father’s work we lived in communist countries… But i do know many escape stories too, they are blood chilling indeed!

  12. lauretabcn said:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and specially for taking the trouble of translating my posts 😉 Nice to meet you too!

  13. Hi Lena. Thanks for following my blog. Your life story has been pretty extraordinary up to this point. I enjoyed reading about it. I was struck by this line “i knew it for myself that the West was living its own lie – very different than ours, but still a lie”. Not everyone would agree with that, but I certainly do.

  14. You have a very privileged life Lena. To go through your life’s journey and exhibit substance and mettle all throughout is what I call privilege – not so many people were given the chance to go through. They say that experience is the best teacher; I say it depends on the experience. If the experience is as rich as yours, it indeed is the best teacher. I admire your strength and character. You had taught me a lot. I realize how life is a blessing when it is lived with noble purpose like what become of you now. You are simply amazing.

    Thank you for following my blog. I am now following yours too.

  15. ajaytao2010 said:

    nice reading about you.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Be in touch

  16. petit4chocolatier said:

    Lena, I hope that the new year brings you much success, rewards, joy, happiness and good health!!

  17. You are courageous. You are resilient, You are a winner! What an inspiration you are. Namaste. ~Paul

    • Thank you so much, Paul! I am going to repeat these words 20x in the morning after waking up and in the evening before sleep! You are such an inspiration, thank you that you are! Namaste 🙂

  18. What an incredible story. My parents lost their homeland after war, as well, and I can only imagine how difficult that is. It was difficult for me to grow up in between worlds and cultures, but I think it helped me see from different perspectives (which is not always easy). You obviously have all the gifts, courage, intelligence and beauty to find “freedom” where you are. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Omg, i can’t believe i am seeing this comment just now! 😦 Must be Mercury retrograde…. I agree with you, so-called ‘third culture’ people like you and i, do see things from a special perspective – and it’s usually a gift if one is creatively inclined… but it’s not easy indeed, it’s like living in some kind of perpetual cultural dichotomy … Thank you so much for commenting!

  19. Hello, and thank you for stopping by. I love your blog!
    Take care.

  20. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com said:

    Hi Lena , very inspiring about.The past memories can’t be forgotten but we try.You are a brave Lady to go through such trial.I am from Iraq,l immigrated to the USA to breath freedom not to live as a second class citizen in my own country.Its hard to forget but reality demand the change.Wishing you happiness.Jalal Michael ( thank you for liking my post ( The Present…)

    • Thank you so much, Jalal! Oyy, i hear you… 😦 I am really glad you made it! It’s nice meeting you, looking forward to reading more of your posts! Lena Ruth

  21. Hi Ruth, thanks for following my blog at http://esotericteaching.org

  22. Ruth, this is great. I admire you. Henk

  23. Thank you for following HoB. Much appreciated! I’ll be hanging around here…

  24. thank you very much for visit my site. You have nice blog tooo…Cheers!

  25. What an interesting life. I remember the day when Yugoslavia became many different republics, they still seem to be sorting it out. We have many ex Yugoslavian cultures in Switzerland and I have many colleagues from that part of Europe. For many it is difficult probably to sort out the new various states, but I know people from all over the country. Having learnt Russian for 12 years, I do understand it vaguely. Just another way of saying it. My dobr den has to become Dober dan etc. My youngest son works for the Swiss government in communications and often travels to that part of Europe on business. I am not sure whether I share your belief in Tarot and spiritual things, but it is an interesting subject. My grandmother always had a pack of Tarot cards and seemed to know very much what it all meant.

    • Thank you so much for finding the time for such an insightful comment! I hear you – i get confused too – and on a regular bases! I just spent 10 days at writers’ residence in Bosnia… actually, in a Croatian canton within one of the three constitutional Bosnian units… i must tell you i was regularly forgetting that i am NOT in Croatia, but in Bosnia!
      OMG, your granma was a reader! What a blessing! Oyy, believe it or not – i am NORMALLY a skeptic myself, but there is some synchronicity, some meaningful acausal connection between the events that seems to be triggered by reading Tarot… Mary K. Greer, an amazing contemporary philosopher and Tarot scholar recently said something which i really have to share with you: “Basically we all seem to be saying that the cards operate metaphysically through a seemingly random generator (that is falsely so since, by our definitions, there is nothing random in the universe). OTOH, we could say that we humans naturally ascribe meaning to random events (whether this is divinely inspired or not becomes another question). Rollo May sees the giving of meaning as an essential survival mechanism. “

  26. Hi there, Thanks for stopping by to check out my blog and the follow, hope you liked what you saw. Looking forward to seeing more from you, 🙂

  27. Lena, I have thought of you often since I heard of the plane crash in Russia. My hope is that you and all those you love are safe. Gentle hug to you.

    • Thank you, my dear friend ❤ I apologize for such a late reply, it's been crazy with final submission of the thesis and pre-defence scheduling :(((((( Me and mine weren't hurt, thanks goodness! And thank you for caring xxxxx Merry Christmas!

  28. Your posts and blog are so inspiring. With love maxima

  29. Poyta Blavatsky said:

    A poet, oh we need so many more of them.

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