This book was my answer to the war madness sweeping through
Yugoslavia in the 1990s. When the war started, in 1991,
the Belgrade media became full of propaganda, and words became
weapons aimed at increasing tensions and preparing population
for whatever Milo?evi?'s regime needed to continue its
bloody adventure. State-controlled radio, television, newspapers
and magazines bombarded consumers with language of
hate and fear.
After some time, I caught myself developing
distrust of all forms of communication, and I realized
that this was precisely the aim the regime had in mind:
once we stopped believing in communication, we would become isolated and hence the perfect
To raise my voice against this, I decided
to make a strictly controlled book. I collected a handful
of poems I had written in the years just before the war, printed
them in one copy, hand-bound the (small) volume, painted
the cover, and titled it all “Shadow & Dream”.
Then I told my friends about the
simple rules I set for this project: everyone who wanted to read it had
to print their name and telephone number in the space reserved
at the end of the book, and each next reader had
to call at least one of the previous readers to discuss the book. I wanted
to encourage personal communication, at the same time putting
a strict control over my words. Those who read the book had to sign it, becoming the guardians of the words inside.
Because it was time when words were dangerous.
Just like today. Just like always.