Marina Maric on LOL-OMG and Writing When English is a Second Language
I have been Facebook friends with Marina Maric for a long time but never actually met her. Crazy, right? I have really enjoyed her general Internet presence and her ability to curate the best in TV, political and culture writing. She came over and we had a great time talking about media, which movies she learned English from as a kid and what would go into her hypothetical memoir.
What made you love reading as a kid? What were your favorite books and movies growing up?
I had a cousin who lived right next door, who was an avid reader. She was seven years older than me and in my head, she was the coolest, most interesting person I knew. She had tons of books, magazines, comic books and she would share them with me. I was in heaven. I enjoyed books, sure, but I really, really loved comic books. Marvel and DC were not big in ex-Yugoslavia; we were reading almost exclusively comics by French and Italian authors. Dylan Dog, Corto Maltese and Alan Ford were some of my favorites.
I enjoyed watching silent movies a lot when I was very little. Slapstick comedies too, especially the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy. And of course, like everybody else on the planet, I eventually became obsessed with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Goonies, and The Karate Kid. I had a huge crush on the Karate Kid.
Did your time in radio influence the way you looked at writing and creating content for culture? What about your work as a digital strategist?
Content strategy is everything in radio. I would improvise sometimes, as all radio hosts do, but having the content carefully crafted and prepared before going into the studio was incredibly important. So, I learned how to write content that is concise, informative, and engaging – always having my audiences in mind. It was something I was eventually able to apply to my work as a digital strategist, especially when it comes to quality of the content and audience engagement.
What have you learned about language as someone who grew up thinking in one language and then switched to another? Can this shed light on how we choose to write?
I learned that you can forget your own language if you switch to another language completely. I learned that languages are hard to learn, and that it takes time, effort and most importantly, practice. I also learned that you can indeed write in another language. But you have to put some time into it.
So, I work on my language and writing skills every day. What new word am I going to introduce into my vocabulary this week? How can I write this sentence better? I obsess over spelling. I am convinced that I can’t write well in English, or at least not as good as I can in Serbian. But I write. In the end, so what if I never write really, really well?