Stories Made of Lead

Author: Goran Gavranović 

“Journalism is no longer a travelling circus which retires when the spectacle is over.” (Juli Zeh, Corpus delicti)
Neither the world described in the novel Corpus delicti by Juli Zeh – which I highly recommend – is a utopia, nor is the quote I cite accurate in today’s world. Journalism is a circus because the world around us represents one, terrible and wonderful at the same time. 

Journalism wanders, runs, from show to show, and there are so many of them that there is hardly time to go around them all. What is accurate in both worlds – in the dystopian world of Juli Zeh and in this world of ours – is that journalism does not disappear when the show is over. It stays for a long time after the show from the cover has turned into a tiny dash of few lines. And it keeps coming back to it. 

Why am I writing this and what does it have to do with literature and the Book Fair in Pula? Well, nothing special. Journalism, newspapers, and the media can be and are connected to literature and book in multiple ways. Many writers are also journalists, many journalists would like to or are going to become writers, but one thing that connects them most is that both know, or rather feel, that every story, even an insignificant one, is a show that came to rest somewhere, transformed from screaming screens and covers into a few text lines – worth talking about endlessly. 

Maybe the most valuable stories are the ones (in the multitude of shows that human stupidity and greed serve every day such stories are not often encountered) that are apparently ordinary, that we pass by every day and only from time to time notice how magnificent and worthy they are to be told. The moment when the gaze goes below the surface of what we see every day is what literature and journalism have in common. 

Again, this has nothing to do with the Book Fair in Pula, 24hours and Express newspapers. Or maybe, it has. Perhaps this is precisely the thread which connects us all, us, who have lead instead of blood in our veins, even though books and newspapers are no longer printed using lead cast letters. That cheap metaphor still stands. Once infected with the poison, one is rarely cured. 

Although it’s been a while since books and newspapers moved to the screen of digital media, and although the world has changed in countless ways, the stories remained the same. Their discovery remains the same, as does the thin thread which connects the one who tells those stories by discovering and relating the facts, with the one who connects the story in his imagination. 

Every newspaper story, every piece of news, is just a seed waiting for its (own) novel, poem… It will be told in a different way, it will seem that they have nothing to do with each other, and even if there were someone smart enough with enough time at his disposal, he would not be able to interrelate them. However, they are connected. In the same way as mass media and newspapers are inseparably related to books. 

So, this might be the bond between 24hours, Express newspapers and, of course, all colleagues from other media who make a living from the story, and the Book Fair in Pula. It is taciturn and self-explanatory. How that happened is just a series of facts. Why 24hours and Express newspapers, and journalism as such, are inseparably intertwined with the Book Fair in Pula, with books, with the written word, is self-evident. 

However, it might be that the most important role was played by the literary monthly BestBook, which is published in Express newspapers, although I would say that, if it were not for that, there would have been something else. Everything that is related to book and writing has found its place in BestBook, and the most important stories – and the Book Fair in Pula is definitely one of them – are covered most. And it is at this point that things took their natural course, similarly to the invisible thin and connecting thread of the story. 

And to us as a medium, one of the most important and largest in this country and in the region in general (I try very hard to be modest and not say the biggest), it is important to support one of the main festivals of written word in this country and region. Why is it important to us – because of that thin thread, because of the lead in the blood, which connects us. Because one of the most beautiful feelings in the world is when you tell a beautiful story, the one worth telling, the story which you can tell countless times and each time it will be a new one, a different one. Each time you will discover a new face, some new shadow that you have not seen until then, and it is genuinely significant and important. 

And the Book Fair in Pula is one of the most beautiful and significant stories in this country. And this is why it is worth telling countless times. This is why 24hours, Express and BestBook newspapers want to tell this story countless times. I would say that it is our duty. 

We are grateful to the Book Fair in Pula for opening the door to us to fulfill that duty in the best possible way.