4 Questions: Zarina Zabrisky

by CS

What is your earliest memory?

I’m all alone in a semi-dark room in our basement communal apartment and the brass door knob–oily olive-yellow with dents and scratches–is slowly turning…

What was your first acceptance/publication?

In Russian: My poem about the siege of St. Petersburg in a young pioneer newspaper Little Light at the age of seven. It was sad.  It was published between Lenin’s portrait and some shit about social commitments.  I knew it was wrong.  I became a closet writer.  It was fashionable, anyway.  It took me three decades to recover and start sharing my writing.  First story in English:  Fall Issue of Full of Crow’s Quarterly Fiction, 2011, A Compulsive Shower Taker, editor: Paul Corman-Roberts.

Print or electronic?

I’m a book junkie.  I eat books, dream books, make love to books.  My bookshelf is in my bedroom.  Sometimes I put books under my pillow.  I can’t put an online magazine under my pillow.  I can’t lick an online poem.  I mean, I can.  But I don’t.

Do you write while listening to music, and if so, what do you listen to?

Impossible.  Music has a rhythm of its own.  It will kick me out of my internal music.  I can listen to the Doors or Pink Floyd or classical music sometimes, then wait and read some poetry, and then write.  I like to do about ten minutes of poetry reading–Russian, French or English–as a warm-up, before writing. I only write in cafes where the sounds blend in. Sometimes I murder people who laugh arrhythmically and then write about them.  Good question!

Zarina Zabrisky started to write at six.  She earned her MFA from St. Petersburg State University in Russia.  She wrote her first novel, The Heroin Train, trafficking drugs from Ukraine to Russia.  She wrote her collections of short stories travelling around the world as a street artist, fur coat model, translator, kickboxing instructor, and a hot dogs brand ambassador.  Writing her last novel she moonlighted as a dominatrix in Oakland.  Her work appeared or is forthcoming in Full of Crow Quarterly Fiction, Lip Service West: True Stories, Blinking Cursor Literary Magazine, Blinking Cursor anthology, Wicked East Press anthology, The Applicant (Nepal), BANG OUT Reading Series, Mad Rush and Escape Into Life Literary Magazine.  Zarina lives in San Francisco with her fiance SAMMY THE DWARF and family, but they will move to Arizona or Australia one day. Read some of her stories at RedRoom.com.