Sadness As A Shortcut To Writing

Interview with Elīza Lasmane

Elīza is one of the most creative and multifaceted people I have ever met. As her mind is full of unheard ideas and her heart is deep into writing, I chose her to be my first interviewee.

We are sitting at her apartment in Riga city centre, having red wine and it is snowing outside.

Q. Who is Elīza? Tell me about yourself

A. A little human

Q. Why little?

A. Because all of the people are small

Q. How would you describe yourself to your readers?

A. Arta, because of questions like these, people go crazy (laughing). If we talk about the Elīza who writes, it’s a bit easier. It’s definitely that kind of Elīza who is a little bit sad

Q. How did you come to writing and what exactly do you write?

A. Usually, when I get sad, I completely embrace the sadness, get destructive and all, and afterwards I need some kind of closure, therefore I write. Then I get the feeling that something beautiful has come out of it. It is more like a coping mechanism.

Q. To better understand what you are feeling?

A. We always want to explain everything logically, and sadness is rarely logical. If you write it down, you can look at it from a distance. Also, I have always associated sadness with literature. When I was little, I read all of the Russian literature classics where horrible things happen all the time.

Q. And because of that you thought that it is the way life should be?

A. Yes, I understood that life is pain (laughing). Then I moved a bit away from that and thought that maybe life is not only about pain. However, every time when I am sad, I feel that the pain has to be connected to literature. At least in that way something comes out of it and you can share that something with others. I write rarely, but sadness is my shortcut to writing. I also write when I am in love.

Q. Does that happen often?

A. On average, once every six months or so (laughing).

Q. Are you talking about falling in love with a person or also with music, art etc.?

A. No, it is always about some silly dramatic crush (laughing). Just because I like someone, I won’t try to get into a relationship, that would be crazy. At the same time that feeling of falling in love interferes with my daily life, so I have to get rid of it. I have six poems for six different men. Each one of them gets a poem. Then, the next day I am completely over that crush (laughing).

Q. In your FB profile intro you have written 'I am socially constructed'. Can you tell more about that?

A. Many things changed in my life when I became an anthropology student. Before that I had a disorganized existential crisis – I couldn’t understand why my thoughts changed from day to day and why life seems to be in such a chaos. By studying anthropology I learned that you can use theory to explain it. It is a real thing. Society affects you every day. Of course, there is a huge dilemma about whether you have a free will – I still cannot answer that question. But “I am socially constructed” is a symbol for organized existential crisis. It can be approached in a structured way.

Q. So are your identity, thoughts and needs are shaped by the society?

A. Yes, I am a result of circumstances.

Q. But where are you in all of that?

A. Well, that’s where the existential crisis comes in (laughing). No one is affected by the same exact circumstances. I am the unique consequence of particular circumstances; each person is simply a unique consequence.

Q. On your FB profile under your religious and political views you have written 'unconditional love'

A. Oh my God, that is so stupid. I wouldn’t put it like that anymore.

Q. How would you say it now? Did you believe that it is possible for everyone to reach this 'unconditional love'?

A. No, it is an unreachable goal. People think that they can reach that point of being happy all the time. It is not possible and certainly not necessary. I think that it is awesome to feel as wide a range of emotions as possible. You cannot control the emotions, but you can influence the way you look at them and the value you ascribe to them.

Q. Reflect on why you feel the way you feel?

A. Yes, and be aware that no other emotion would give you the unique worldview that you have at that moment. A cliché for an example would be Van Gogh. He suffered abnormally but he poured out his suffering visually and now other people are enjoying his art.

Q. But what if Van Gogh was sent to a therapist and had meditated and tried to work on his pain? Would he had been able to create something?

A. He would have created something else. After all, there are relatively few people who are able to go to a therapist and constructively work on their pain. We need people who create different things. While someone will create art out of his pain, someone else will be happy and work on something more useful than art, for example, city planning.

Q. Come on! Isn't art useful?

A. Art is a way of surviving. When you want to die, you don’t care about how well the urban environment is organised. But if you want to die and you listen to a cool song.. or draw a little funny thing for yourself.. then you don’t want to die anymore (laughing).

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