Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Goran Boskovic

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Ten Questions with Goran Boskovic

This spring, the Toronto Arts Council Foundation in association with Lit City held the first annual Get Lit! Competition. The competition asked Torontonians to submit art inspired by Toronto and its inhabitants. All of the submissions were featured in an exhibit during Doors Open Toronto. Goran Boskovic was one of the winners of the competition for his video, obscure(d).

OBT:

Congratulations on being a winner in the Get Lit competition. Tell us about your winning video, obscure(d).

GB:

Thank you very much. As for obscure(d), it is a meditation on perception. I wanted to explore the idea of how our thoughts obscure our experience of the world around us. I found that at times, all we can focus on is the internal chatter while we are blindly walking the streets. At other times, we are able to marvel at the architecture of the city surrounding us – usually the latter tends to be reserved for travel. The split screen in the video represents that inability to multitask our life experience.

But do not despair; Toronto has enough beautiful architecture and spirit that we never have to blindly walk the streets again.

OBT:

What inspired you enter the competition?

GB:

The topic as large as Toronto inspired me greatly. I was also motivated by the fact that it was open for interpretation and presentation - in addition to being run by a local organization supporting local artists for a local festival. Too much Toronto in that answer - the city is very inspiring though.

OBT:

Aside from the judges, did you have a specific audience in mind when you made your video?

GB:

I didn’t have an audience in mind at all - probably one of the reasons it went so smoothly.

OBT:

How did you choose the locations for obscure(d)? And where did you get the typewriter?

GB:

I chose the location by putting myself in a role of a tourist visiting the city. That was an important aspect of the whole project. How would a tourist experience something that I see (or miss) every day? Then I would stick that tourist behind a traffic sign or pole or street light and take a picture, allowing the autofocus to dictate the shot (both metaphorically and literally speaking).

As for the typewriter, a friend of mine found it for me at a sidewalk sale in Kensington. I was looking for one at the time but no one took me seriously – except him (shout out Stevan). I put it to use on regular basis; my one year old niece loves it as well.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

GB:

My first publication was an article for Elsevier, which I co-authored with a very inspiring professor, Dr. Guergachi, while I was finishing my undergrad at Ryerson. The creative process differed a bit than, say a poem about a crush I would have for a girl on a subway, but it was a very enlightening experience.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

GB:

Seems as though my whole, at times volatile/dynamic/vibrant/unsettling being is the result of Canadian culture. I've lived half of my quarter century life in Canada (makes it sound grand), so I was immersed into the culture while being able to compare and contrast what it meant to be(come) Canadian. That led to many different social, political, psychological, philosophical and spiritual questions – yes, all of them.

It has given me an added perspective not in terms of nationality or origin, but in overall citizenship of the world. We are such interesting and complex creatures; I can’t think of a more inspiring and influential topic.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Toronto” gift, what would those books be?

GB:

Toronto, huh? Well then,

Hey Apathy (series) – Mike Parsons
Dateline: Toronto – Ernest Hemingway
When We Were Young – Stuart McLean

Something current, something past and something of everything.

OBT:

What Canadian writers do you look to for creative inspiration?

GB:

I have to give my respects to my latest inspirers: the writers in residence you’ve held. Not to suck up, but if you want an honest answer, that is it. The likes of Linda Rogers, Dennis McCloskey, Michael Rubenfeld, Sheree-Lee Olson, Shaun Smith, the list goes on, have all inspired, encouraged, enlightened....and that list goes on as well.

Looking up some of their work, as well as their suggestions, opened my eyes a little wider to the Canadian literary scene.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

GB:

“Buck up” – Cordelia Strube, in one of her writing seminars, said that to me when I was getting to be a little too critical of my writing. It stuck with me. I am done with the whole self pity thing - at least in writing – a lot more Zen’ing to do for the overall. The words are in me, sometimes they come out, sometimes they don’t, but I know they are there.

Also, a close friend of mine, a very talented musician, gave me this jewel:

“When it gets hard and you seem to have exhausted it all, give it a hard push and all that used up energy will get behind you and everything that you are doing will flow and start to make sense. You will make sense. If not, at least you know you didn’t give up and can try again tomorrow”

I use that one every day.

OBT:

What is your next project?

GB:

Right now, I am working through my first novel, and what an exhilarating experience that is. I am also putting the finishing touches on a collection of poems.



Born in Sarajevo, Goran Boskovic’s appreciation for the arts began early, finding beauty in all that could be touched and tasted. With time, he moved away from the arts and became an avid marbleist and footballer -hoping one day to play for the local football team or attain the marbles collective of the neighbouring kids. At the age of eight, he decided to leave the hustle and bustle of city bombs and move to the country side. It was there that his appreciation for the stars grew along with a quiet determination that he WILL be the one who will count them all - despite what he was told.

In the winter of 1994, at the onset of his eleventh year, he came to Canada in search of a new adventure. 10 years after the northern landing, a thought occurred to Goran and it hasn't left him since.

In order to deal with the thought Goran took up writing - in an attempt to decipher what it is that the thought had to say. At times words are substituted by more abstract forms of expression such as music production and photography - the most abstract one of all. The research continues to this day.

He currently lives in Toronto. For more details on the research and its progress, please visit www.explisep.blogspot.com.

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