How Many Do You Think Can Survive?

Author Interview
Siamak Vakili Author Interview

Motherhood follows a young physician who finds a child in her bathroom that ignites the motherly desire inside of her. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I have to say that divorce is more prevalent these days than marriage, and most marriages will lead to divorce soon. In post-revolutionary Iran, fundamental changes have taken place in such areas, which are sometimes very negative. People in many villages and small towns have turned to cities, especially Tehran, the capital. You may know that we started the revolution at a time when satellites, the Internet, mobile phones, and technologies like that did not yet exist. Therefore, the connection of cities with villagers and small towns was very limited and sometimes did not exist at all. Urban life and urbanization could not have any effect on them, but when the revolution started, the villagers rushed in millions to big cities, including Tehran. As a result, they brought along to the cities all their traditions and behaviors. They also tried to make themselves like city people, but with the misconceptions they had about the city and urbanization.

One of these misconceptions was to give up family and ancestral professions and turn to administrative jobs. Administrative jobs require literacy and education, and so by any means necessary they quickly threw themselves into universities. But because it was not easy to enter universities, they founded their own, which are called free universities. These universities take money from you and admit you to the university, and as easily as you enter it, you can leave with a doctorate degree. This greed for obtaining a degree was not unique to men; women also saw freedom in education and degrees. Many people have been able to start their own family businesses with government loans after graduation, and now consider lack of economic independence to be the main reason for their lack of freedom. So the idea now is that if they have economic independence, they will also have freedom.

When men and women both study and have a doctorate degree, and both work from morning till night, it makes sense for them not to find any room for marriage. That is why in today’s Iran fewer people get married and if they do, they have fewer children because not only do they have less time, they have also decided that in order to achieve their goals marriage and children are not a basic necessity of life and that those things make women dependent on men hence hindering their independence and freedom. For this reason, Iran, which was once one of the youngest countries in the world, is becoming one of the oldest today.

Dr. Shahverdi has somehow accepted an arbitrary change of nature, and its very consequence is her lonely and soulless life at the beginning of the story. This story is short but in this short span, it covers many details. So it was very difficult to achieve such a goal in such a short time. However, I tried my best to make it as natural as possible.

Dr. Mitra Shahverdi is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I got to know many women during my student days and then during my artwork years, and Dr. Shahverdi is a collection of some of their most interesting features. I say “the most interesting” because each of these features was very natural in the women I knew. When someone tries to imitate a behavior from others and pretend that it is their own behavior, it can actually be quickly perceived to be fake. But an authentic behavior quickly gives you a good impression. I did my very best to make these behaviors real for Mitra, not imitative and fake, and I think I was able to do so because those who have read the story have not noticed any fake and unnatural behavior in this character.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Everyone has the right to be free and to live freely, whether they are men or women or the whole society, but the first condition is to recognize freedom and its uses and the need for it. What good is freedom to me when I neither recognize freedom nor its uses and I do not even need it?

When we do not recognize something, we do not know its values or applications, and this is what happened in our revolution. The villagers came to the cities when they knew nothing about living there and once they had benefited from their facilities, they tried to make up for many of their shortcomings, and did so in the wrong ways, one of which was to get rid of the bond of marriage. Why should they consider marriage a kind of bond? Before the revolution, marriage was arbitrary in the cities. Two people would meet and get to know each other, and if they also liked one another, they would get engaged and stay that way for some time, and then they would get married if everything went well. Also, getting divorced – not in all cases but in most – was easy. But in the villages, families were the ones who chose wives for their sons and husbands for their daughters, who never saw each other until the night of their marriage. It made sense that such a marriage could not be desired, and now that the villagers had the facilities of the cities, they tried to break this bond. But they did so with extravagance and extremism, i.e. by denying marriage and childbearing, or in other words, by changing their nature. The views were rural but the tools and facilities were urban. They did not know this, and they still do not know that in order to change the situation, they must change their views, and not their nature.

But they came to the cities without changing their views and by the use of urban facilities they tried to show themselves as urban, however not only could they not become urban, but they even lost their rural and urban characteristics, and now they are neither rural nor urban. They are in such a purgatory that millennial traditions and beliefs are shattered and everything loses its original meaning. In this purgatory, nothing has a true meaning, not traditions nor beliefs nor even morality. No one is bound to anything anymore, and that is why all those things that were once considered bad are suddenly allowed, and lies, hypocrisy, theft, and the like increase. Parents who were once greatly respected in their villages and towns are now sent to nursing homes as soon as possible, with the excuse of the difficulties of modern life. They do not know that it is not modern life that has brought this disaster upon them, but the sudden cutting off of the roots and the sudden loss of all those precious things that had shaped their lives and relationships over thousands of years. It is just like suddenly dropping a bunch of polar bears in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. How many do you think can survive?

It is one thing for modern life, with all its features, to quietly reach cities and villages, and it is another thing for villagers and townspeople to suddenly find themselves trapped in the hustle and bustle of modern life; the former can be constructive, but the latter will always be destructive. In this story, I rejected this unnatural method with an unnatural event, which means that Dr. Shahverdi tries to change or deny her nature in an unnatural way, and nature tries to keep that nature alive in her in its own unnatural way. This is not to say that I can believe such events in real life, but when it comes to art, and in this case the story, I believe that these methods can be used.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book, which I am almost done rewriting, is a science-fiction novel. It is about a spacecraft that for some reason is present in our solar system and has been seen by those on Earth. Humans have not contacted them and want to get to know them, therefore they invite them to come to earth.

This story has three main points. First, the ship’s commander suffers from insomnia, and nonstop events do not allow him to sleep either. Still, he does his best to perform his duties well. The life of this commander is between sleep and wakefulness and the past and the present. Memories of his distant and recent past invade his mind, constantly keeping him separated from the present. One of the memories of this commander is the love he lost in a distant past and now this love has found the chance to be constantly revived in his mind.

The second point is that the characters are just like us, both physically and outwardly, and in terms of inwardness and connections among themselves. I believe that if there are intelligent creatures on other planets and galaxies, they are certainly like us because progress in culture and civilization on the one hand and progress in industry and technology on the other cause space creatures to be like us – albeit with differences in detail. For example, let us consider E.T: He is a space creature with that particular appearance and body and is of course so advanced that he is able to come to earth on a spaceship. Even mentally, he seems much more advanced and evolved than us, because he is able to heal the injured finger of the boy in the film with a light that radiates from his finger. The question is how with such a body (with which he can not walk properly) and such fingers has he managed to produce technology? It is true that today he may use robots and computers, but initially, you have to be able to produce basic technologies yourself. I mean with such fingers how could he put the delicate gears of a watch together and how with such fingers could he have sent a text message to someone else? In one of Arthur C. Clarke’s short stories, an octopus pilots a small spaceship. Can you imagine this octopus producing sophisticated technologies? That is why I imagine if intelligent beings existed in space, they must be something like us. Of course, it goes without saying that if we consider the world of movies, creatures like E.T or Predator can be more attractive than beings like us.

And the third point is that our scientists have long spent billions of dollars to find space creatures and make friendly contact with them. And now that these aliens are in the solar system, even terrestrial politicians are urging them to accept their invitation and come to Earth to get to know each other. These aliens, while in the solar system, have been able to obtain good knowledge about us with the help of their satellites, and now they wonder why the races on Earth have not yet been able to accept each other well and live together peacefully. These races are still killing each other and looting each other’s property. Can they be trusted? What will a race that does not have mercy on itself do to them? Besides, why does a race that does not know its neighbor and tries to eliminate it seek to get acquainted with new races? Can one trust the friendship and relationship with such a race?

The rewriting of this book will be finished soon and I will publish it if the publisher likes the story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

A young physician who doesn’t desire motherhood lives alone. Until one night, when she finds a naked little boy in her bathroom.

The boy doesn’t remember anything. The woman calls the police. The police can not take him to the station because he is just a little boy, and they cannot find his parents because he does not remember anything. Due to the holiday, the police can not take him to the nursery or anything similar. So the young physician has to care for him till after the holiday. In the few days ahead, she cares for the boy but the questions are: who is this boy? Where has he come from? Why in her bathroom? Is he real or just a sparkle of her passion she has tried to ignore for a long time? And, finally, can this incident wake the motherhood up deep inside her?

In Motherhood, by Siamak Vakili, we experience the universe playing a trick to wake the nature that lies deepest inside, and shows that it’s very hard to escape from who we really are.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on March 19, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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