People who don’t scrutinise themselves are dangerous, says writer/journalist/psychotherapist Stanislava Ciurinskiene
Issue 11, August 2007
by Ani Ivanova; photography by Dragomir Ushev
She's the former manageress of a special café for mentally ill people (that enjoyed protected status), a property consultant who uses her background as a psychotherapist to help clients and a journalist who writes about real estate. And, as if this wasn't enough, she's also written two books. It may sound like an exhausting remit but Stanislava Ciurinskiene copes with her diverse roles admirably well. “They complement each other,” she says. “I became interested in psychology because I wanted to know more about myself. And knowing human nature allows me to help my clients make the right decisions when buying property”. So far, Stanislava seems interested in writing fairly brutal literature that highlights the mean and weak aspects of human nature. “As Freudian as it may sound, we all get our hands dirty and it's as well to recognise and admit that,” she says.
Stanislava Ciurinskiene graduated in journalism from the St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University. She also has a degree in clinical social work from the New Bulgarian University, supplemented by a specialisation at Smith College, Massachussetts. She has published two books, God Bless Stew in 2006 and Finger Eleven this year, which she co-wrote with her close friend and fellow psychotherapist Borislava Krendeva. What do psychotherapy and writing a book have in common?
Writing is about creating characters, and an author needs to know a lot about human nature. Psychotherapy taught me the truth about human nature and it differs greatly from general stereotypes. People can be very vulnerable and weak and in our frailty we do horrible things: we lie, we envy others, we get jealous, we commit adultery, we even fantasise about killing our parents and we dislike our children.
Isn't this an ugly picture of human nature?
It's a punch in the face for all who refuse to probe themselves deeply. These people are dangerous. Look at George W. Bush - if he doesn't confront and address his deep need for approval from his father, he will continue to be a threat.
Your books are not strictly Bulgarian. Is this intentional?
I'm sick and tired of books by Bulgarian authors who write about Bulgaria's Transition Period. Literature is not nationally distinctive, and our lives are not nationally distinctive either.
You are married to a Lithuanian and you both live in Bulgaria. How do you cope with cultural differences?
By accepting them. Every time I dislike something or find it very bad, I try to see whether it's not just different from what I'm used to.
Explain the title Finger Eleven
When everything is pushing you in one direction and your instinct drives you in another - that's finger eleven. It's your inner voice. It can get you into a lot of trouble but it can also save you. People don't usually heed it.
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers