- Guest Post by Vadim Babenko
I met a girl – the year my life reached an impasse. I rushed about and felt only despair, a total lack of strength. The concept of SEMMANT had been elaborated to the smallest details, but I couldn’t write a single line.
And here I met a girl – I saw her first in a photo. Then we skied in the Alps together. Later we became lovers, and I decided she had not come into my life by happenstance. I told myself: Now, she’s a source of inspiration, a long-awaited sign. I compelled myself to believe this – almost by force – just because it was high time.
I began to write without giving in to any indulgences. The further the book moved ahead, the closer the girl and I got – I even moved to her country, and we started living together. Her presence in the novel was not significant; it was almost imperceptible, except for some details. But her presence in my life was necessary for the novel to be born. And, in turn, the book that was created, its authenticity, its scale, were necessary for our love story to continue, for our relationship to grow stronger.
At some point it became uncomfortable for me. The book and our life together began to depend too much on each other. They fed on mutual energy, and it wasn’t clear where this energy originated. After all, no one had repealed the physical laws of preservation, and I knew their rigor well.
This was the energy of love, my girlfriend told me, and I believed her – having no other theories. And then an event occurred that again turned my life upside down. I was slandered by my former family – out of jealousy and greed, and a desire for revenge. The Spanish authorities brought a criminal case against me. Suspecting nothing, I flew to Madrid to collect my things; they arrested me as I got off the plane. The next several days I spent in a Spanish jail.
This was a new – and utterly negative – experience. I learned that the monstrous state machine could roll over you and crush you even if you were absolutely innocent. Against it you can do nothing – only grit your teeth and endure it until they give you a chance to somehow justify yourself. It took a year and a half for me to completely clear my name. The opposing party was persistent, inventive, and did not want to relent. Nevertheless, I won – after spending an unbelievable amount of money, time, and energy.
However: in that same year and a half I finished my novel! Furthermore, its plot, its whole conceit grew deeper and better structured. And, in addition, the book and the story with the girl became independent from each other right after prison. They had lost their internal link and parted on different trajectories. I no longer felt that one was pledged to the other, and vice versa.
The trajectories, incidentally, were successful. We married, and the book turned out just as it had been conceived. The robot named SEMMANT came to life.
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – NC17
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