A series of conversations, lead by Elza Rauza, with the new generation of poets. Illustrations – Lelde Liepa
Paula Lūcija Lejiņa, 18, student, poet
-Are there any poets who have inspired your writing?
– I was in a charity shop when my friend found a poetry collection by Klavs Elsbergs, at the time I did not know who he was and my friend described him as an author read by the cool kids. From then I had this sort of an mission to find his poetry collections because that was what the cool kids were reading and I wanted to fit in.
– Do you have any poets which writing styles you love?
-So so many. Of course, at the start it was Elsbergs, but it changes constantly. Right now it’s Aivars Neibarts ( Ņirbulis). Also, I enjoy Monta Kroma’s poetry a lot because she has so much love for people but it isn’t banal. Also, I like Jānis Rokpelnis because I am fascinated by his persona, thus also poetry.
-Is there a new cultural discovery you want to share?
– I have been loving Latvian underground music.
– Are you patriotic?
– I don’t like that term because it was created based on strong nationalism.
-Yes, I agree, for example, this term was used in Japan at the start of the last century, but what was going on there was more than just patriotism.
-Exactly. Right now this topic for me is big because I have to start thinking about life after graduating from high school – do I stay in Latvia or go abroad. Even though this sounds very cliché, we are the future of this country. If no one is living here, there isn’t Latvia. I cannot imagine myself living abroad because I have so much love for Latvians, the culture. That is why I have acknowledged my national identity, but is that why I should call myself patriotic, I don’t think so.
– You mentioned us as the future of Latvia, what is the biggest difference we have compared to other generations?
– I think we aren’t as afraid as our parents (because of the USSR). And with that the stereotype of the introverted Latvian has been starting to get demolished.
– Do you get afraid easily?
– I am afraid of things out of my control. That sounds crazy but, for example, I am not afraid of dogs, but if a dog runs to me with his teeth showing and wants to bite, of course I will be afraid. I guess I’m also afraid of huge pain like losing someone close.
-What is your relationship with death?
– Well, I am interested in it a lot and I think about it frequently. Death is the unknown, and we gravitate towards the unknown, at least I do. It’s not like I constantly try to dance with the devil but everything happens for a reason, that’s why I’m not afraid of it, I would like to befriend death.
-What is your opinion on Latvian mythology?
-I resonate with paganism. I love the idea of worshiping thunder, rocks, nature overall.
-Do you think paganism as we know it can be practised in the modern day?
-Yes. Definitely. I am sorry that a lot of those things like solstices have been commercialized. I hope that one day I can fully dive in and actually practise it.
-What you despise in this age?
– I will most certainly be that person who despises all the trends usually hah. I have a younger sister, which means that I know all about them. I would say that all the festivities that have been westernized I don’t like the most.
-Materialism of it all?
-Yes. It’s great that the idea and the celebration are still alive but the fact that it has changed so much from the start (like Christmas or any other holiday), that I cannot stand.
-Have you had a point in your life, where you understood that you have overgrown the environment you were in? Or it happens really naturally for you?
– I think it happens naturally, but you definitely still notice it. You have to grow out of an environment in order to grow and evolve. It’s impossible to overgrow the environment of the whole world but in a lifetime a person definitely does that, just in a smaller scale. However, it’s important to understand that you have to move on only when you truly have evolved, not if you’re just scared. Sometimes I feel like I am not my actual age, especially in a school environment, but I have to understand that I will never again be able to think like a child. I had to reconcile with that fact.
-I think our opinions completely match. I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t live in the future. Especially when it come to school – I remember sometimes I just stopped talking to people there for the whole day just because it got too hard to talk to them because I felt like i am not my age. I completely understand you.
– I think a huge role is played by the fact that we live in Latvia. Of course, I love this country and I think that people here are educated compared to most but still there is this lack of awareness of the actual world around us. We were talking with friends about why a lot of women are married with foreigners, and we came to the conclusion that it is because of the education level Latvian men are at. Why??
– I think this goes hand in hand with the stereotype that good grades means intelligence, which clearly is not true.
-Yes!! But then again it’s such a relative question because the borders are blurred.
– What is your relationship with religion?
-I am interested in it, especially from a historic perspective. I am not religious myself, but I want to explore its impact on human beings. Maybe even religion goes together with the education problem we talked about previously. What I mean by that is that religion was created as a way to describe world’s phenomenon and also to enslave people. And when you start to become more and more educated, especially when science moved forward and start to think for yourself, you start to question it. And if you’re educated, you won’t be easily subjugated. This brings up the question why so many are still religious? And also there is difference between being religious and being a believer in a spiritual way. I don’t believe in the little man in the sky. I think people are afraid of the word God, because it is so extensive which is why society has simplified it. I definitely don’t know for sure what I believe in, but right now I feel a connection with nature and the power that it has. I believe in everything happening for a reason. That is why I think that everyone believes in something, it can be a religion or science or anything else. If you set a goal, you have a belief that you will achieve it.
-What are your thoughts on law of attraction?
-I think I naturally have accepted it because my mom is a huge believer in that. I never thought about it consciously, but I have always practised.
-What do you like the most in art?
-Freedom. You can do whatever you want.