What happens in We, Monsters?

One woman goes down the rabbit-hole of her fantasies.


What are her fantasies?

Books and BDSM dungeons.


What is BDSM?

Bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.


What do a BDSM dungeon and a book store have in common?

As Mistress Rose is to find out, a lot.  Both sell fantasies.  Some people read Dostoevsky, some read mysteries, and some imagine themselves going down a toilet pipe, dressed as a fairy.


Why do they do it?

To escape reality.


What is reality?

Douglas R. Hofstadter says of Escher’s drawings: ‘…one level in a drawing might be clearly recognizable as representing fantasy or imagination; another level would be recognizable as reality.  These two levels might be the only explicitly portrayed levels.  But the mere presence of these two levels invites the viewer to look upon himself as part of yet another level…’.


Do you have pictures in your novel?



What is the use of a book without pictures?

Instead of pictures, I offer beautiful footnotes.


What do a footnote and picture have in common?

Footnotes are like pictures to me. They are also mirrors… A looking glass: The BDSM world is a reflection of the mainstream world.  The writer is the reflection of the reader.

And, I grew up with War and Peace and Eugene Onegin.  (Classical Russian novels and even verses are written partially in French. Russian translations are in the footnotes. I am used to footnotes.)


Are you from Russia?

I grew up in St. Petersburg. Then it was re-named Petrograd, then Leningrad, and now it is St. Petersburg again.  My country changed names like a sick chameleon.  I’m not quite sure what the official name is at the moment.  It might be Russia.


When did you come to the States?

I was young enough to forget when it was, and old enough to keep my accent.


Are there monsters in We, Monsters?

What’s a monster? Mistress Rose, a soccer mom, tortures men.  Millionaires excited by enemas, surgeons prancing in tutus, accountants barking like dogs.  Between sessions she reads Dostoevsky, smokes Vogues and writes.  After hours she steams broccoli, kisses booboos and writes.


Why? Why do people do what they do?  What’s normal?

“Nothing is normal. Marquis de Sade was right, ‘All universal moral principles are idle fancies’”, writes the male protagonist of my novel, Dr. Michael H. Strong in his pop-psychology bestseller.


Why do people write? Why do you write?

To me, life is a story. A succession of stories or a novel, epic novel, like War and Peace, only broken, disrupted, syncopated like Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.  Words, like music, run underneath.  And if I listen too much I will explode unless I write.


How do you write?

My favorite advice on how to write:

“Oh, my friend Arkady Nikolaich,” exclaimed Bazarov, “one thing I implore of you; do not speak in beautiful language. beautiful language is just indecent.” –Turgenev, Fathers and Sons



ZARINA ZABRISKY is the author of short story collections IRONA CUTE TOMBSTONE (Epic Rites Press) and a novel We, Monsters (Numina Press). Zabrisky moved to San Francisco from Moscow to escape the aftermath of a collapsing communist empire. She wrote traveling around the world as a street artist, oilfield translator, and a kickboxing instructor, and started to publish her work in 2011.  Since then, Zabrisky’s work appeared in over thirty literary magazines and anthologies in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong and Nepal. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a recipient of 2013 Acker Award for Achievement in The Avant Garde.


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