- Special Guest -
Today I have a different form of interview with someone who is multi-talented - Elena Ornig. Elena originally came from Russia and has made her home in Australia. She is a blogger and author, and has been the former Vice President of the Russian Broadcasting Corporation in Vladivostok. Not only, Elena is a publisher and she interviews authors and other interesting people on her website. Welcome, Elena ...
Tell us a little about you and where you originally came from.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m living two lives. One, in Russia where I was born and lived till I was 30 years old and the second in Australia where I live now. Two very different lives but I love them both. I love life and I always say that life is beautiful. I believe it is and I live by that regardless of any circumstances. I consider myself a very lucky individual, being able to explore two different continents with unique social and cultural values.
What was the happiest moment of your life?
Where to start? I have many happy moments every day. I enjoy living, learning and just being alive. But once, I believe I experienced a moment of pure love. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed with deep emotions all at once. That was when I looked at my three day old daughter closely for the first time. That was the happiest moment of my life.
What was the saddest moment?
It hasn’t come yet but I know it will - when I take my last breath. That will be the saddest moment because I will go into nothingness and nothingness must be the saddest state of all. No thoughts, no feelings - only total absence.
What surprised you most?
The realization that love exists. Love is the most surprising discovery for me. I didn’t believe in love and for years I was only concentrating on my career and my status. I was very driven to achieve and in my late 20’s I was already head hunted by some big companies and eventually I become the Vice-President of the Russian Broadcasting Corporation in Vladivostok. I thought I had made it. I was satisfied but I wasn’t really happy and I didn’t understand what was missing until I fell in love and everything changed. I dropped everything I achieved without any regrets and I moved to Australia, following my love. I finally understood what the Scottish dramatist and novelist James M. Barrie meant by saying: ‘If you have love you don't need to have anything else. If you don't have it doesn't matter much what else you do have.’
What was your greatest disappointment?
My greatest disappointment is that ignorance still exists and particularly in well developed and well educated societies. I totally agree with the Greek philosopher Socrates and I quote: ‘There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.’ Reflecting on our global political, economical, environmental and social issues such as terrorism, financial crisis, global warming and poverty, I ask why we have these problems. The only answer I can find is our own ignorance. Self-fulfilling prophecy is ignorance and breads extremism and terrorism.
Governments’ and people’s failure to live within their means will lead to crisis. The general ignorance to understand the difference between global warming (human-causing rises in temperatures) and climate change (natural change) is shocking. To not understand that poverty doesn’t only affect one village or one country but cripples the whole world is ignorance.
Who did you misjudge? Why?
I’ve misjudged a few people in my life. Now, I understand that the reason for my misjudgment was my lack of knowledge of human nature plus my personal believe that some are gurus compare to me. Instead of questioning their motives I trusted their opinions. Here you go – my ignorance was my own fault. I started to write my first book when I was in grade 10 and sought the opinion of a teacher, widely regarded as ‘a guru’ in literature. I gave her my draft. A week later we met for discussion. She threw my script on the table: ‘We don’t need another Tolstoy in our country’. I catapulted my script into the nearest bin and stopped writing for many years. About ten years later I met her, accidentally in a train where she confessed her reason to brush off my desire to write. She was obsessed with young boys, one in particular who liked me. Sexual sickness was her problem, she was sentenced to jail for seducing young boys. She was sick but I misjudge her blindly believing she was the one to listen. Now, I am not so blind anymore. So, maybe not a Tolstoy, but I’ve now written three books and I’ve just finished my work as a contributor to one more book. All my books are written in different genres and not long ago I opened my own publishing company - Julia Sophistique Pty Ltd. I also have four websites and one bookshop online - Hot Digital Books.
What or who was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenges were the complexities of social and cultural integration in Australia and in particular learning a new language. Language was the major challenge. I was already over thirty with only a couple of words in my pocket. Grammar, expressing a meaning and pronunciation didn’t come easy. I was studying hard but I had a great teacher, my well-spoken husband. He personally developed a special system for me to study English and I still have his red folder on my office shelf. I can honestly say that it took me about seven years to feel fearless to express myself as a speaker and fifteen years to gain the confidence to write in English. However, I still have a strong accent but everyone says that my accent is charming and I am happy about that.
What has been your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is how short our life is. It is definitely not good enough for me. I wish to live much longer and preferably forever. I can only imagine how much I could learn and experience if I would live forever.
Copyright Clancy Tucker (c)
What would be your dying comment? Why?
Life is beautiful. I am so sad to go. I would like it to be written on my tombstone.
Who were you most envious of? Why?
I was and still am envious of future generations. I am envious of their unlimited opportunities to study anything they want due to technological advances. I am envious of their ability to witness future discoveries.
Who did you forgive – for doing something you never thought you’d forgive?
I don’t. I never forgive. I just cut it off and forget.
What was your greatest moment in your life?
Every morning it feels as the greatest moment in my life. I can think, I can feel, I can explore and learn something new. Maybe, it is because when I was 17 years old I was confronted with a verdict from doctors that I had one year left to live. Since then, I am grateful for every extra day.
What is your greatest achievement?
To showcase my skills and abilities to others is irrelevant to me. So called achievements tend to be based on self-affirmations and self-gratifications that are commonly used to present someone to the public. I do have written achievements on my blog, I have these on my CV and so on. However, in reality, I look at life’s achievements differently. Did I make anyone feel happy today, make them smile or encourage someone to find what they were looking for? If yes – to me, that’s an achievement.
What personal traits would you like to have in your next life?
The one I try to possess in my current life – patience. I am very impatient and trying not to be so. I hope I succeed before the next life.
What advice would you give to world leaders?
Think!!! Think thoroughly through all options. Think carefully through every step of the process and every possible ramification and if you make a mistake – do not be afraid to admit it in order to fix it.
What advice would you give to parents today?
Whatever rules or values you try to teach your children are useless if you do not live by these rules and values yourself.
Who would you choose to be stuck on a desert island with?
With the only two people who I trust with my life – my husband and my daughter.
Have any heroes? Who?
Yes, I do. My hero, since a very young age is Danko from Maxim Gorky’s story ‘Starukha’.
I quote from Gorky’s story: ‘What can I do for people? - Stronger than thunder shouted Danko. And then he tore his chest and his hands tore out his heart to her and raised it high above his head...’
I was always fascinated with Danko sacrificing his life to save his people.
What are the greatest legacies you will leave behind?
Life is beautiful - cherish every single minute of your life.
What’s lacking in the world today?
From what I comprehend and personally experience as an individual, the world is lacking a strong bond between individual and social entirety. Everything is driven by self interest. The world is lacking unity between people and government. Governments are concentrating on the manipulation of society, trying to be good servants for both forces – the people and powerful corporations. The gap between rich and poor is a result of such broken bonds. This growing gap creates mutual misunderstanding. Without understanding we cannot build mutual trust – only fear and resistance. Fear and resistance will create conflict and conflict is only one step towards a war, revolution or civil unrest.
Any pearls of wisdom for the rest of us?
Life is a reality that we observe, explore, comprehend and describe. It grows from a speck into something meaningful and then diapers into nothingness. Life is a perpetual force in one direction – forward. It moves through evolution and progress, constantly transforming and modifying - nothing is static. I believe our mission is to establish our own meaning of life, individually and collectively. We have a unique and majestic tool - the power of the mind. With that tool we should be able to gain wisdom in order to create order from chaos.
'Hot Digital Books' is my company shop online:
'Answers From' is my blog where I publish my articles:
Clancy's comment: Thanks, Elena. Appreciate you taking the time, and for also being so frank. I'd encourage any author out there to contact Elena for one of her scintillating author interviews. Any publicity is good publicity and Elena has a great network.