Александър Мануилов

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Alexander Manuiloff

I started this site to give my works the opportunity to reach their audience, without my having to do things I am uncomfortable with.

What I mean:

  • I don’t like it when art and literature become products.

The only thing I dislike more is when a human being becomes a product. And that's not a romantic view at the problem – now, when I am writing this, it is the end of 2011, and many people in different societies are questioning the legitimacy of the system in which we live. Intellectuals in general are destined to engage in the rethinking of our fundamental human values. To the number of issues for rethinking I can add this one: do we know what we can give to others, or we rather know what we want to take from them? Because when this strain of corporate insanity that everything is done for money and power fully extends its influence onto artists and their intellectual products, intellectual products will no longer exist. What will then exist in their place will have to be called entertainment industry.

  • I believe that writing makes sense.

This sense stems from the creation of aesthetic pleasure and meaning for both the writer and the reader and it cannot be measured with the number of books sold, nor with the temporary wealth or reputation of the author.

True writing for me is a kind of giving (creation) and is never consumption.

True reading is a kind of giving (creation) and therefore – not consumption. Having equal positions, it is hardly understandable why artists strive for fame, wealth, status and benefits which readers would never think to ask for themselves. When writers publish books on paper, this may create potential "bonuses" for them such as participation in competitions, awards, royalties, republication, media appearances, posters in bookstores, critical articles, interviews, social events, participation in TV and radio shows, public readings (with applause), influence on cultural policy and even positions of power...

Some of these things happened to me after my first book came out (2004), but they just confused me and made me refrain from publishing for a long time.

Now I know that deep down in me I do not need them.

In any case, none of them changes the value of a work of art.

They could only make it more popular. But popularity and quality for me have always been two different categories. Moreover, choosing the path of promoting one’s name, an author, especially in our small and critically not quite reflective Bulgarian context, risks to reach a point where whatever he creates - it will be officially accepted and liked. However, this is the moment when an artist dies and a trader is born.

  • For me writing is a pleasure.

But in Bulgaria there is no such thing as literary agents to manage the relationship between writers, publishers and readers. For this reason the authors have to play this role themselves. They have to offer themselves, to try to impose themselves as a name and literary approach, as well as get acquainted with the "right" people and maintain targeted communication with them. Some artists do great in this role, but I'm not one of them. I have huge internal resistance to discuss or present things written by me. I have tried it and I know that it only gives me inner discomfort. In recent years, the few publications I have had occurred almost exclusively in response to an invitation by an editor. I realize that to call an editorial office does not seem a difficult task. To make an appointment with a theatre programmer in Bulgaria is not a great effort. But I can postpone such a move for years. Of course, silence from the other side can also last for years.

So, there has been one more reason to create this site - my inability and unwillingness to act as my own literary agent.

  • The traditional path in publishing in Bulgaria, especially without a literary agent, is often associated with duties for the writer that reduce his independence and can seriously injure his emotional purity. By publishing his things without intermediaries the author fully retains the opportunity to be an independent thinker – because he does not have to like (or pretend to like) the works or the personality of writers, editors, publishers, playwrights or directors of theatres, from which the promotion of his own texts may depend.

The decision for a lonely publishing on the Internet is a difficult choice, but it gives me the freedom not to be part of and not to have to support the current Bulgarian status quo or values that I do not believe in.

  • The value of tangible products (bread, milk, a notebook) can be calculated easily. But who is to tell how much one of my stories, plays or poems costs? I would not let any publisher calculate this because publishing houses are corporate structures that have quite different goals and interests from mine. I wouldn’t be happy to agree also that bookstores deserve at least 40% of the price of my work.

I do not agree with the government which wants to take a further 20%.

I admit: I am not a trader.

  • Everything I post here is free for personal use and may not be used for commercial purposes. Readers are the ones who are entitled to decide whether to give financial value to my work, thereby helping me to keep creating. I am fully aware that people have the right to never make this choice.
  • And not on the last place: an online publication of my texts seems more meaningful a thing to do than to keep them in my own computer. Once out in the public domain, they could theoretically reach directors, playwrights and writers who share the same aesthetic and other values as I do and thus help establish the beginning of a future creative cooperation.

I am starting out with a set of texts that in different places have been posted on the Internet and print media over the last seven years plus some new works. So far, I believe I have enough material to publish something new every week in the next one year.

Soon more text will be published in English, too.

Thanks to Peter Chuhov, Svetoslav Nikolov, Vassilena Radeva for the consent to post here texts that we created together.

Thanks to Polly Micheva, Mariana Hristova and Atanas Igov for their advice.

To Maria Lipiskova – for the unexpected idea.

And to Nikola D. Dimitrov– onefortee.net -for the website.

 

Sofia, December 24, 2011

Alexander Manuiloff

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I started this site to give my works the opportunity to reach their audience, without me having to do things I am uncomfortable with.

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By observing changes in the world in 2011, I developed the feeling that knowledge and ideas should be able to circulate freely, even if small, insignificant, and bearing their flaws.

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