I first read some of Regina’s work at Northography a couple of years ago before we started Stone Path Review. I have always been struck by the fantastical world she creates, and the images, some startling, some raw and in your face, that are central to her poetry and short stories.
Below is an interview I conducted with Regina.
– William Ricci
SPR: Have you always been a writer? When did you know this was a part of you?
I was 7 years old. I wrote a short story that my teacher loved. He suggested I should become a writer and that was it. I had already been certain at the time that I was a writer. I liked it.
SPR: What did you like about writing then? Compare that to now.
I liked the fact that I was good at it and I had everyone admiring me. I was something like the «child pet» of teachers. The wonder child who could make up stories and write them in an adult-like way, in order to have grown-ups patting her head saying ‘’Oh this child is terrific! Look at that!’’. Later, when I was a university student, I realized that writing is not only a way of getting others to admire you but a way of fascinating them as well. I hate to say this but writing has always been something that helped me to express my narcissism, my need to allure others, and my self-hate. And this goes to other people. Sometimes you love people and you have to write about them. Some other times you hate people and you have to write about them again.
SPR: What writers have influenced you? What writers or poets are you reading now?
My most favorite ones are Witold Gombrovitch, Thomas Mann, Michael Bulgakov, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Each one for different reasons. However, all the four of them used to see people exactly as they are – magical and dark, striving to find their inner light.
SPR: Why poetry or short stories?
I usually write poetry when I have a strong visual stimulus that amused me or confused me so much that I need to do some magic on it! You know magic versus magic, something like homeopathy I suppose.
SPR: Could you explain a bit more about what you mean by “magic”?
“We all talk nonsense when the dream’s upon us”. This is a phrase I heard only a few days ago in the Mystery of Edwin Drood, a TV series on Charles Dicken’s book. When I heard the phrase above, I felt that I had found a key that could help me explain what I meant by using the word ‘’magic’’. Poetry is like talking ‘’nonsense’’ when we are deep into our dream, lost into its land. It is another kind of language, a spell for our dream. It reminds me of this English expression ‘’A penny for your thoughts’’. It could be ‘’A spell for your dream’’. Where the word ‘’spell’’ could be replaced by the word ‘’poem’’.
Short stories are something different. They need more time, more details, and more attention to their being shaped. And they are hard work. Sometimes even more than a novel, because you have to invent an end much sooner and you have to make yourself be detached from the characters and not let them do whatever they want. My favorite form of writing is the novel though. I enjoy so much writing a novel, do you know why? The heroes are stronger than me. They weave the story and not me.
SPR: What does poetry, as an art form, mean to you?
Poetry is the expression of those who want to destroy the world’s solidity and make it viewable as if it is liquidated by words. Words in poetry have the power to make everything around flow in a smoother way. Poetry is my broken glass. I see you through it after dipping it in a bucket of water and hold it in front of my eyes.
SPR: What role does location, such as the landscape, a city, where you are when you write, play in your work? How much does it influence?
I am not easily influenced by the landscape. In fact, I would really like to write locked in a room all day, a room without windows if possible. I like looking at walls when I write. Walls covered with black and white photos. Light distracts my attention, life outside a window can make me stop writing just to go out and have a walk. Landscapes are distracting, so I try not to be influenced.
SPR: What type of space do you need to write? Do you have a daily routine?
I usually write at nights because it’s when the house is quieter. But I can write in mornings as well, as long as I know that no one is going to interrupt me. The only routine that I have is that I like writing while listening to music. Classical pieces mostly. Any other kind of music during writing distracts my attention. I prefer Vivaldi, Chopin, and Sostacovich.
SPR: What advice do you have for aspiring writers and those seeking possible publication?
I don’t like giving advice but since you ask me all I could say is that they know better than me and better than anyone else. If someone advised me on how to work, concerning my writing, I would get mad at them. Or I would pretend that I am listening to them but then I would do as I would please. Who has certain answers for this kind of things?
SPR: I understand what you are saying, and the point you are making. Let me rephrase the question. If a student made the following statement, how would you respond?
“Everything I have submitted has been rejected. I should stop writing.”
I would definitely say to them “Then stop”. What do you think that they would do? If they stopped, then they never wanted to write. It’s quite simple.
SPR: What can we teach and do to get more children and teens involved with the arts and writing specifically?
I think that education and schooling should make children be more involved with the creative and artistic procedure, as well as philosophy. Today, schools are focused mainly on subjects that prepare children to integrate in a society of technocrats. Technology is something that we need, as long as its evolution and development is driven by questions that arise from a philosophical framework. Cultural and Humanitarian studies help this framework to be built.