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Jozef Imrich

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  Jozef Imrich           

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What if a government tried to keep you behind barbed wire for the rest of your life? How far would you go in the name of freedom? Is there a way to experience freedom without struggle?

There are no car chases. Why, then, is Cold River so compelling? The answer lies in our deepest desires and fears. In July 1980 three young lives lay tattered on both sides of the Morava River, brittle as a p


Background Information

My name is Jozef Imrich and I welcome one and all storytellers to a tale of escape filled with belief that, ultimately, it's not possible to crush the human spirit entirely. Once you have seen the injustice there is no turning back.

I might not be able to add 'literary genius' to my CV but I can certainly add another word: survivor of the Iron Curtain. Although I am not a writer, I am someone compelled to write. It has long been my dream to write a book that would allow me to share part of myself in order to reach out to others and to honour my drowned friends. It has been soothing for my soul to extract the nightmares. When I was about to turn 40 - 40 is huge as life begins at 40 - I thought, what are you waiting for? Your next life? So I made a vow to myself that I would try to get the story of escape across the Iron Curtain published. You may be done with the past, or think that you are, but it's never really finished with you. Ironically, I am also a survivor without a country as Czechoslovakia no longer exists.

Unbearable lightness of remembering may be the final distinction from '1984.' It is this struggle for understanding the past, this seemingly unavoidable need to interpret that keeps us going, keeps us reaching for some kind of truth, no matter how hopeless that task may sometimes seem. This is also why we create stories; it is through stories that we hope to create some kind of truth... and give people a sense of what is possible!

Birth Place
Kezmarok,  Czechoslovakia
Accomplishments

'The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort, but where he stands in time of challenge and controversy.' -King (Martin Luther)


Freedom, like writing, is a powerful drug. Jozef achieved the unachievable by crossing the most dangerous border in the world, the Iron Curtain. The struggle against forgetting is unending and there is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you. It can take a lifetime to find the authentic survivor' s voice. Without any doubt, writing a book is a liberation, a cause for celebration. You just sit down and find it hard to stop the words from bleeding or come out as an unconscious communication from the deepest part of your human existence. Whatever Jozef writes he cannot compare his experience to scene in a movie. A strange unreality creeps in; yet it was real and it was horrible.
Somehow technological developments have a tendency to coax would-be authors out of the closet. In his eBook, Jozef writes about people who don’t usually get written about. They were ordinary boys leading ostensibly ordinary lives beneath which a variety of torrents raged. Jozef reflects on an experience he would rather forget.


Real survivors take chances ... have flaws ... embrace stone-cold exile ... get rejections. The past often ambushes survivors with a flash of memory as bright as lighting. For the Iron Curtain' s only surivor, getting those flashes published is everything. That is why in the school of hard knocks nothing gets better than the world-wide publications of Jozef's prize-winning short stories. These stories bring the Iron Curtain to life in a variety of newspapers, blogs and magazines.


Any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened.
-Elie Wiesel


The monograph was written over a twenty year period of stolen moments, six months of that full time. Czechoslovak history in a single breath is what Jozef seeks to achieve in Cold River. A single breath, held for 177 pages, is virtually what readers get. Since there is no history, only biography, it is impossible to understand Czechoslovak history with the mind. Long stretches, whole decades, can be wrapped up in a couple of chapters around the reader‘s heart, the human bridge ... Even a single chapter can cover a whole story if it seems really worth telling. Jozef brings to his writing many years of experience as a researcher in the parliamentary environment where his professional life was pulled in several directions. He draws on those experiences in adding realism to his storylines. Jozef's writing is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and a fascination with truth and mortality. Like the daring escape, some of Jozef's storylines which appeared in underground magazines had kept ruthless communists awake at night. This book is like having an old itch finally scratched.


'If we look at history, we find that in time, humanity's love of peace, justice and freedom always triumphs over cruelty and oppression….'
-The 14th Dalai Lama

Additional Information

My advice: write until your fingers bleed to staunch a wounded heart. Truth and beauty is all we know, and need to know. Write what you know. A thousand rejection slips do not mean failure. -Gerald Grimmett (in memory of Authorsden Mentor)

"The difference between fact and fiction? Fiction has to make sense." -Tom Clancy

"I defy anyone to read the prologue of ‘The Cold River’ and not get inspired to do something personal." - I can only wish Tom Clancy said it ...



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