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  • Jane Flett

Mermaids/Sirene: Jane Flett

Jane Flett is August 2017 writer-in-residence at ZiN. In Ližnjan she is working on her new novel, and we're bringing here the translated excerpts of her poetic piece Mermaids that was first published in PANK magazine, in a special queer edition edited by Kima Jones. It was also chosen as one of the top 50 short fictions of 2014 by wigleaf. "I wrote it all in a rush one day when I was doing morning pages" says Jane and adds: "There's this idea of writing 750 words each morning before you do anything else, and that's what this started as, and I think I hardly edited it after that. One of those very rare things that comes out fully formed..."

It is with great pleasure that we translated the first few paragraphs of the peace into Croatian - we're presenting here the dialogue between the two languages in the way it was read at the literary event at our library last week.

U kolovozu s nama boravi Jane Flett iz Berlina. Jane se predstavila ližnjanskoj publici na međunarodnoj književnoj večeri održanoj prošli tjedan u dvorani naše knjižnice. S posebnim zadovoljstvom donosimo prevedene ulomke njezinog proznog teksta Sirene na engleskom originalu objavljenog u časopisu PANK.

Jane Flatt (1984, Scotland, UK) is a philosopher, cellist, and seamstress of most fetching stories. Her poetry features in the Best British Poetry anthology and is available as a chapbook, Quick, to the Hothouse, from Dancing Girl Press. Her fiction has been commissioned for BBC Radio, performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and awarded the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award. Jane’s work appears widely in print and online journals, including Wigleaf’s Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2014. She lives in Berlin where she was voted Berlin’s best Engish-language writer in 2015 by Indieberlin, and has recently been translated into Japanese for distribution in Toyko. Jane is also the poetry editor for Leopardskin & Limes and co-founder of Queer Stories Berlin. She sings and plays cello in the bend Razor Cunts whose member is Ambika Thompson who was ZiN's writer in residence in May of 2017.



I know a girl who lives in the ocean and she says we have everything down here except for popcorn. She is lying, of course, I know that candyfloss also goes limp in the waves, I know they can’t collect stamp books, I know there is no such thing as a candlelit dinner, but I smile and hold her hand anyway, because she is what she is.

Znam djevojku koja živi u oceanu i koja kaže: Imamo sve što nam treba, ovdje na dnu, sve osim kokica. Naravno da laže. Pa znam da se šećerna vuna u valovima rastapa, znam da na dnu ne mogu skupljati marke i čuvati ih u albumima, znam također da tamo ispod nema večere uz svijeće... ipak, smiješim se i držim je za ruku, jer ona je to što je.

And besides, she laughs at me when I curse the internet, when I curse the stairs; she says, Janey, it’s time you joined me, come on, I’ll show you my Christmas tree coral if you show me your smile.

Osim toga, ruga mi se kada proklinjem internet, kada proklinjem stepenice; Ona kaže: Janey, vrijeme je da mi se pridružiš, hajde, pokazat ću ti svoje koraljno božićno drvce, ali samo ako mi najprije pokažeš svoj osmijeh.

And I think about it, I really do, because the colours down there are some kind of electroshack love parade and the weightless tits-up arse-over-heels feels good. I think about it because whenever I see my mermaid mate grin with all her teeth glimmering like mother of pearls, I start to think she’s got some secret handshake with the gods and they never fret over wet palms, they never even notice. They don’t have hung-head nervousness

I doista razmišljam o tome, premišljam se, jer je tamo na dnu sve u prekrasnim duginim bojama kao na paradi ljubavi i nema težine, grudi su uzdignute, sve je izokrenuto i dobro. Razmišljam o tome jer svaki put kad ugledam svoju sirenu kako mi se ceri onim svojim sjajnim sedefastim zubima, počinjem shvaćati da je ona ruku pod ruku s bogovima, a oni se ne obaziru na znojne dlanove. Bogovi nikada nisu nervozni

because the world is a buoyant beach ball, the world is a smattering of sand, your heart and your body that you thought you’d heft around forever are different down there: shuttelcocked and spacemanned. Down there you feel different and different is fine.

jer svijet je plutajuća lopta za plažu, svijet je tek šaka pijeska, tvoje srce i tvoje tijelo za koje si mislila da ćeš ih uvijek nositi, drukčiji su tamo ispod: poput loptice za bedminton u slobodnom padu i vaukuumskog hoda astronauta. Tamo, na dnu, osjećaš se drukčije, a osjećati se, biti drukčija sasvim je u redu.

Translated into Croatian by/ Prijevod na hrvatski jezik: Natalija Grgorinić and Ognjen Rađen


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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