Creativity Saved Me During Hard Times

With the passage of time, as we mature, we can find different features, emotions, and a deeper meaning in a book we read years ago.

Part Two

In 2000, I had written and published a novel called Requiem for Barbara in my native language and country – Croatia – and the book had good but moderate success as Croatia is a small country. But I hear that the book has still been selling there and it found its way to almost all the libraries across the country. Therefore, I do have a number of readers who send me a note telling me about their experiences with the book.

A year before, in 2019, a publisher from Serbia approached me and asked if I would be interested in publishing that same book in the Serbian language, and we started working together in order to publish it the next year in Serbia, which was exactly twenty years after the first publication.

When the novel was published in Serbia, the book received very good reviews and it has attracted popularity again twenty years later. I had quite a large number of women who wrote emails or messaged asking me to translate Requiem for Barbara into English.

I took their requests seriously and began translating diligently, sinking again into the same elegiac atmosphere that grabbed me and my readers so many years ago. It was interesting that some of them read it again, after 20 years, and their experience was profound: the book talked to them in a new way and left different messages. It seems that with the passage of time, as we mature, we can absolutely find different features, emotions, and a deeper meaning in a book we read years ago.

Branka Cubrilo

I crowned 2020, a very difficult year, with two important projects – Requiem for Barbara and Three to Tango and Other Tales. Therefore, my time was filled with deep meaning and purpose, two important qualities that are essential in my daily life as a person and as a writer alike.

As we entered 2021, life didn’t show much improvement on many levels. It was equally worrisome; the mere fact that I could not visit my home made me melancholic if not sad. To those feelings, I had my best answer, or best cure: I decided to immerse myself yet again in writing, I found myself once again with two projects to finish before the end of 2021.

As I mentioned above, it was made clear that Requiem for Barbara was well received, especially by women. It was a ripe time to translate the book into English twenty years after its first edition.

For the second project (running parallel with my translation of Requiem into English) yet another Serbian publisher approached me with interest to translate my latest novel, Dethroned, from English into Serbian, to which I agreed even though I was already deep into translating a different book. Translation is a tedious process. It needs time, a knowledge of languages, attention to detail, and an understanding of the subtleties of different languages, et cetera.

The translator for Dethroned in Serbian was a reasonably good translator, but I wanted to be involved in the process of translating from the beginning to the end, as I always am. Being the author of the book, only I possess the knowledge of what I really wanted to achieve and how I wanted it to be translated and conveyed to my reader. I wanted the same rhythm, same atmosphere, same phrases, and subtleties, and I can always tell if they are not in the spirit of my thought.

It took us a good year to translate such a long and demanding book, and we successfully came to the end of that worthy project, which took a lot of my time and, just like Requiem for Barbara did, this also took me back to places and characters that I thought I would never be dealing with ever again.

Now, both books are going to be published later this year, which again, makes it two books in one year.

In a time of change, time of uncertainty, and time of waiting for changes, I wrote/translated four books with the aim to produce something of value as an offer to myself and to many readers who regularly send emails, photos, or messages expressing their gratitude or sharing attractive photos of them reading one of my books.

We, human beings, are creative creatures and I know that we have been given creativity for exactly that reason: to express ourselves, to share our knowledge and talents, to comfort others, to teach, to make this world a better place by enriching it with one of our talents or skills.

Being forced for the first time in my life to stay put in the same neighborhood and with the same circle of people, without much to do or to say, creativity once again saved me.

Please click HERE to read Part One of Branka’s essay on surviving the difficult times of the pandemic.

Please click HERE to find Dethroned on Amazon.

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