Wed, 10/01/2008 - 08:59

For several months I have been working as a journalist at the Bulgarian National Radio. Last week I dreamt that I was wandering around the radio's impressive central building in Sofia. In front of the main studio. The host of the programme scheduled to go on the air shortly was one of the doyennes of contemporary radio journalism in Bulgaria, Velichko Konakchiev.

However, Velichko Konakchiev's guest for the programme hadn't shown up. Which sucks, no matter how you look at it. So Velichko Konakchiev said to me:

"Look, why don't you come and give a short commentary on my show?"

"OK," I agreed. "But on what topic?"

"On whatever you want," Velichko Konakchiev replied with a wave of his right hand, while his left stroked his white, well-groomed beard.

There wasn't any time.

There were only two or three minutes left until we went on the air, until the end of the song that was playing. In my sleep I feverishly began to try to think up a topic for my commentary. The idea came to me literally the instant the red light lit up signalling that we were on the air. Knowing that sometimes in radio the important thing is not what you talk about but that you keep talking, I confidently began explaining – as if I were an expert – that since our country (which had previously belonged to the so-called Socialist Bloc) was accepted in 2007 into the club of Western nations, better known as the European Union, the situation had improved for the average Bulgarian; we obviously already live better. Of course, this argument is quite controversial at the moment and is not particularly popular – in fact, it is decidedly unpopular. I, however, passionately defended it, giving a long-winded and far-ranging explanation of how much better off we are economically than before.

At that point in the dream the outlines of the studio disappeared, the microphones disappeared, as did the table, the glass separating us from the soundman, the sound-insulated surfaces, the ceiling, the floor…it all disappeared.

Velichko Konakchiev and I found ourselves in a green, sunny garden. We walked side-by-side down one of the beautiful paths. I continued my commentary, but not in front of a microphone; it was as if Velichko and I had gone out for a walk and I was convincing him of the truth of my thesis. I was waving my hands and excitedly laying out my argument that things were exactly as they said they were.

At a certain moment my cell phone rang. I heard the voice of the soundman, who in an admonishing tone scolded me:

"Hey, where have you and Velichko Konakchiev disappeared to?!"

"Relax, we're on our way," I reassured him.

Velichko Konakchiev flagged down a taxi. He told the driver, "Take us to the radio building on Dragan Tsankov Blvd!"

The cabbie just laughed: "There's no Dragan Tsankov Blvd in Sozopol."

Born in 1976, Stoil Roshkev graduated in Bulgarian Studies from Sofia University. A prize-winning author of poetry he works as a journalist. He published his first book of poems in 1997 and his first novel in 2007, and has just finished his second novel Cybermodernism.

EK_Logo.jpg THE ELIZABETH KOS­TOVA FOUNDATION and VAGABOND, Bulgaria's English Monthly, cooperate in order to enrich the English language with translations of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Every year we give you the chance to read the work of a dozen young and sometimes not-so-young Bulgarian writers that the EKF considers original, refreshing and valuable. Some of them have been translated in English for the first time. The EKF has decided to make the selection of authors' work and to ensure they get first-class English translation, and we at VAGABOND are only too happy to get them published in a quality magazine. Enjoy our fiction pages.
Issue 25 Elizabeth Kostova Foundation

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