Whenever I’ve wanted to be rational, whenever I’ve wanted to control myself, I have screwed up my life. My life doesn’t seem to tolerate rationality … because I’m not a thinker, I mean I don’t follow my brain, I follow my heart. But this very basic instinct has carried me forward and brought me to where you see me today. Choosing to become a writer or trying to be a writer in a day and age when misery, war, unemployment, hunger, and persecution was rampant, when all the prospect in front of you was a wasteland, that cannot be a rational choice. It means I chose displacement and hunger and homelessness, because there was no hope to publish, no writing competition to submit to or … oh … there was nothing, just nothing. I just wrote and read my work to whomever I could. I could have been hanged! Because I was so nosy and pried everywhere, because my family was involved, very involved … I might have starved because everyone was busy with their own miseries, and education and studying wasn’t worth a dime. But before settling on writing I had wandered a lot … I had hopped on every branch… poetry, theatre … In 1978, I had just returned from the U.S., and I was admitted to the psychology program at the University of Tehran. The revolution was in the air. Every time I took a bus to go from Tehran to Shiraz, or from Shiraz to Tehran, when they asked me what I did I’d say: “I’m a student”, and later “I’m a nurse” or “a factory worker” or … I had become weary, I didn’t know what I was; everyone thought I was lost, that I was set adrift and there was no coming back. Until I wrote the first paragraph of Kanizu, just the one paragraph. I was having lunch with my friend Shohreh Chelipa at her home. I read her the paragraph and she was stunned … she showed me her arms and said: “look Maryam, I have goosebumps!” and that’s when I knew this is where I belong, next to Kanizu. After I finished Kanizu, when someone asked me what I did I’d say, without a hesitation, that I was a writer … and they would stare at me … I had no published book and for many years after that –eight years in fact—Mahmoud Dowlatabadi would introduce me to others as “the writer with no book”. In 1980 I went to the Writer’s Council, and later in 1984 I got acquainted with Golshiri’s circle. Those were difficult years, people would even sell their engagement rings just to buy something to eat, and everywhere you could see people selling their houses and belongings for cheap, just to escape the country. But I was happy and busy with my writing and my stories. I had no place to stay when I wanted to edit and rewrite Kanizu. I remember that during the 23 times I wrote and rewrote Kanizu, I moved eleven times! There was not a single person who looked at me as though I was sane. Everyone, even my relatives looked at me with pity and remorse, but there was also respect; people felt sorry for a respectful and intelligent woman. And now, how sorry I feel for them all!
Moniru Ravanipur's short stories:
Siria Siriam, Collection of Fairy Tales, Nazli, Kanizu, Frankfurt Airport's Woman,
The Gipsy by the Fire, Heart of Steel, Ahle Ghargh