By Olivera Simic
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Additional info for Surviving Peace: A Political Memoir
He knows how much I love to read and he hopes that I will change my mind once I have read them all. It is difficult to explain to him (and others) my urge to write about things from which most people would rather run away. Some people from the former Yugoslavia have asked me how I can continually read and write about the war crimes that Serbs committed. Some have openly resented my writing and have made mocking comments (similar to those of my father): “Yes, what else can you write there [in the West] where they hate Serbs?
Indd 27 9/05/14 2:51 PM Surviving Peace no courage. Instead, I make some excuse and say I am in a hurry and need to go. I am shaking when I finally hang up the phone. I feel physically ill. I stretch across my bed and lie there staring up at the ceiling. My limbs feel dense and vague, my mind is still buzzing. I feel angry and ashamed for not being brave enough to tell him what was on my mind; the thoughts and feelings that I have been suppressing for all these years. But I know that honesty would not help him understand.
I feel compelled to write, and I treasure the refuge that writing brings to me. It is a cathartic process which involves dealing with difficult things and putting words to them. As Philippine-Australian author, Merlinda Bobis, puts it: Writing visits like grace. Its greatest gift is the comfort if not the joy of transformation. In an inspired moment, we almost believe that anguish can be made bearable and injustice can be overturned, because they can be named (2011, p. i). Indeed, the belief that I can right some of the wrong by telling the difficult stories is what keeps me pushing to write more.