Maryana Savka is not only a well-known poetess and a children’s writer, not only a face of "Old Lion Publishing House" and not only a young mother. She is a generator of incredible ideas and a big dreamer. This story tells us how Maryana manages to run the Publishing House, being actively developing in Ukraine, to bring up the 8-month baby son, Severyn, and to continue doing her favorite creativity job.
Do you consider yourself a business mother?
No. A business mother is a mother who can plan and organize everything, checks with a list-to-do of her pocketbook and while her child eats, sleeps, plays and gets additional development as per his schedule. Meanwhile, a child’s mother does her work. I don’t have structured working days; I can call it “creative chaos”. Severyn eats when he wants, plays when he wants but sleeps with a quite definite interval. I fit into his schedule and among his personal needs I try to do those things that are important to me and the Publishing House.
I’ve got reliable assistants, too. First of all, it’s my husband, Mykola Sheyko, who manages all processes in the Publishing House. When my child allows me to work, I take advantage of it and discuss ideas with our team or communicate about creative matters. People are rather independent. That’s why, I can work now as a inspirer but not as a manager (laughing).
I’ve never considered myself a business lady and I was a bit surprised when I was twice in the list of 100 the most influential women of Ukraine. Sure, I can’t deny my influence though not being a business lady. I am a mother and not only for my child. I’ve got an element of social motherhood.
Inspiration doesn’t need planning as a manager, does it?
I have always previously thought that a period when your child takes all attention and you don't belong to yourself as a creative personality as a poet could be rather long. But here it's very important to come up with some exciting activity. Several days ago I invented a very creative project and suggested sharing it with my friend, a poetess, Marianna Kiyanovska. To my mind, it'll be really interesting and unusual: it's a book, being created on-line in Facebook, and everyone can be witnesses of its creation. Every day Marianna and I post a poem, thus we write this book during a month. She is in Lithuania now and I'm in Lviv. It's poems that will turn into a book.
I mainly write poems when Severyn eats. I type letters with one hand, put down thoughts that occur in my head. This way I've realized that I can combine things. For example, when your child eats, you can read or think over some strategy, some ideas. It doesn't always happen but sometimes it's possible.
Was it difficult to rearrange your job from manager's to inspirer's functions as you call yourself?
I've always been a manager against my will :) I am a creative person; my main duty is to invent ideas and encourage others to believe in them and get the result.
Once in my life I moved away from this function and began to deal with trivial things and processes, being totally involved. It's not for me. It's great that our Publishing House has got a real team and I can use my potential for creativity without trying to be divided it on other processes.
Actually I guess that: "The more you want something, more opportunities you get to develop it." The world agrees with you; suggests you ideas, people, and decisions :)
Did Severyn bring you inspiration for some things you haven't done before?
A child is the biggest luck, the highest worry and the deepest love for each mother. You must be close to your child but simultaneously not too close. It's a great wonder when a whole world is growing next to you!
Parents sometimes pay too much attention to their children, spend too much time and too many efforts on "bringing up process" but, in my opinion, bringing up a child means to live next to him, enjoy the presence of each other, be a friend and support. All the rest the child gets it with communication and environment. I am sure, it must be a maximum natural progression.
I don't read some special literature "for mothers" yet; and I don't like reading various mother communities and forums because, it seems, that there is some neurosis there (laughing).
Severyn is very often with you at work. How do you spend your day together?
If we managed to get ready for work, cook porridge before his day rest, then we are in the office before 10 am. Severyn is much calmer here than at home. He understands that there are many people and he should behave quieter. When we are at home, he thinks that I’m fully at his disposal. I even manage to eat here (laughing). It’s more complicated at home. Generally, I want to do a lot of new things, try something new. I even knit a sweater for Severyn (strange if taking into account the fact that his granny buys him a new one every week :)
So, is it really to be effective at work even with such small baby?
Yes! When Severyn sleeps and, actually, even when he doesn’t sleep he gives us a possibility to work at meetings, speak with designers, editors and decide something. Everyone loves my child in the Publishing House; he feels this and reacts mutually so that everyone can carry him :) Severyn attended a presentation for children with me and he wasn’t afraid of them, although they were so noisy. We are bringing a very communicative child.
Did Severyn change your creative phase of life? Do you want to show something new or in a new way in your books?
I don’t think it’s somehow connected with Severyn. I’ve always been keen on kid literature. The first stage of "Old Lion Publishing House" was dedicated to kid and juvenile literature. I am still fond of reading such books and we want to save this feature of the Publishing House that publishes a lot for children. We can’t avoid publishing books for adults, thus we’ve become the multi-functional Publishing House.
My son already reacts on books and separate heroes. But after reading he has to chew it right away :)
I’m planning to publish a new children’s book these days, i.e. “Silent Poems for Winter”. It’s Christmas, winter, very warm and pleasant poems illustrated by Olha Kvasha. I hope Olena Levska will finish drawing pictures in my one more book (“Lullabies and Sleepy Poems”) before opening Book Arsenal. Severyn can’t fall asleep when I sing lullabies but I’ve got them a lot. His father sings him more often and he perceives the song “aga-ga-ugu-gu” much better than some melodious old lullaby.
I sometimes write songs (compose melodies) among which is a lullaby. May be some day Severyn will inspire me and I will record it and even sing.
You should have many projects, ideas, in fact, and always think what else you can do. Literature is an incredible space for fantasy!
By the way, I plan to publish one more book for the next Publishing Forum in Lviv. It’s “Family Alphabet”. Alphabet is a really exciting genre. Two alphabets published by "Old Lion Publishing House" have had a great success among the readers. The next one will be special because each logo will have in common with some family words: “mother”, “grandmother”, “family,” “Ukraine”. It will be a book of small family patriotism; it should be interesting!
How do you rest and, actually, can you rest when Severyn was born? Because the Publishing House is developing so fast!
This question was difficult for me even before Severyn’s birth (laughing). Having learnt to work we can’t learn to rest properly in order to be fully delighted from rest.
I like it so much when we find time and can visit my relatives, the city where I was born. My brother and his wife has got a very nice house with a garden there; many trees and flowers, a great blue terrace where we can relax and talk about everything. And what is the most important there is my brother, Ruslan, Severyn’s uncle, his wife and Severyn’s godmother; and they carry him all day, play with him while I can rest and drink coffee. This is the time when I can relax. When Severyn will be older, I would like to travel with him to some European countries. I also want to relax near water, I want go to the sea; I haven’t been near the sea for a long time.
Unfortunately, I can’t arrange a holiday; my biggest achievement is to prepare dinner for friends and unwind with them… I plan to invite a baby-sitter.
Does it mean that no one except your husband and colleagues help you?
No one. It’s strange but the first and the most difficult months with our son we’ve overcome. He is 8 months and we’re alive (laughing). My mother lives in Ternopil and would help us greatly but there is no time. For the time being my husband, I and “Old Lion Publishing House”, the house of Severyn’s baby-sitters, to bring him up :)
What would you say a woman who hesitates between her job and her family, baby birth?
When you don’t have children, it’s difficult to understand what you get and what you lost when they are born. A child can be sometimes ill and it's not an easy moment for parents. But what a child gives you back can't be overestimated...
When speaking about business organization of your life, a child gives you motivation for everything. You should look at your life as a good manager and to finish doing those things that weren’t finished. Because when you are alone, you are as a "student" :) All your work is ahead of you, you can be "lazy" for a while, not to finish something. But as soon as a baby is born, you begin to do everything for him, take care about your house, your health because a child must have healthy and active parents.
I also hope that when Severyn grows up, he'll join me at my tango classes. I have such secret dream :) I doubt if his father wants to go to dancing classes. In general, I want everything and a lot! Your child doesn't close horizons for his mother, but on the contrary he inspires for new ideas.
And helps to set priorities...
A child sets priorities very clearly. And even he can make you denying the kind of work you don’t like, not to spend time on it or invite assistants :)
Tell us about your dreams. Did they multiply with the birth of Severyn?
I’ve got lots of dreams; among them are dreams of global scale and personal. For example, about society where you want to live. Is it a dream? Perhaps, yes. You wish to see pleasant, attentive people around you; to live the city and be proud of it; to have polite drivers on our roads; to visit hospitals and don’t suffer from seeing a terrible chaos and… sense very bad smell. It’s also a dream (it has partially come true as I try to get services only in private clinics). I wish to see the life about which we dreamt so many years.
From the other side, there are very exact dreams-ideas. They will absolutely come true; I will definitely fulfill them together with my husband, “Old Lion Publishing House” team, with partners. My dream is that “Old Lion Publishing House” has a chain of club bookstores-restaurants in the future where family meetings would be held, be a creative space for pleasant communication. I know how it should look like and I would like this dream come true not only in Lviv but other cities as well. We can achieve it. The most important here is to have people around you who will believe in it and make right steps for implementing these ideas.
When Severyn was born I dream now about a Kindergarten of Old Lion because the fact you should enroll your unborn child in one of the local kindergartens and be in the queue makes me really upset and desperate…I would like such kindergarten where values and standards of communication and living together are shared and valued in our small world of Old Lion. I dream about living in the society that cherishes similar values.
Note: "Old Lion Publishing House" was founded in 2001.!FEST Holding of Emotions is its development partner.
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