Teodor Reljić: ‘Detox your aspirations from what you think you want and find out what you really need’

Writer, scriptwriter and editor Teodor Reljić tells all in our Q&A

Teodor Reljić
Teodor Reljić

Born in Belgrade, Serbia but raised in Malta, Teodor Reljić has worked as a freelance journalist, scriptwriter and editor. He has written the screenplay for the upcoming feature film adaptation of Alex Vella Gera’s novel ‘Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi’ (A Vipers’ Pit), which will be screened at Eden Cinemas from 6 August.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Feed the cats, have breakfast and work through two cups of Turkish coffee.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Trust the process.

What do you never leave the house without?

Keys, phone, headphones, book.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Work in progress.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Never giving up on my inner nerd.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Craft beer, burgers, halwa.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To detox your aspirations from what you think you want and find out what you really need.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

I have neither of those things! My amassed library of books probably amounts to quite a bit now, though.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That it gets better.

Who’s your inspiration?

My late mother, alas.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Growing up as a third-country national in Malta came with its fair share of challenges. Summer of 2020 was a Herculean one too, for various reasons, so I’m glad I managed to get through that one.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be doing?     

Acting or drawing. Why not all three, you ask?! (Time and stamina, mostly).

Do you believe in God?

Monotheism is boring to me, but so is materialism. I’ve made a habit of exploring the rich array of the spiritual fringe over the past few years, and I don’t regret it one bit.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Joan Jett.

What’s your worst habit?

Picking at the skin around my fingernails, and sometimes reading the comments.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Overconfident but gradually slurry. A recipe for social death.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Tilda Swinton.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Whatever drives them to say ‘prosit ministru’, and its many variants.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

None. Forcing emotional amplification on my loved ones at such a delicate moment would be vulgar.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My library.

What is your earliest memory?

Being woken up by my mother when we had to catch the train to Bulgaria… a trip which would eventually lead us back to my father, who had settled in Malta by then.

When did you last cry, and why?

Learning that a new heatwave is coming up. Climate change is a bummer.

Who would you most like to meet?

I’m highly vulnerable to hero worship, so it really depends on the week, and whether they’ve been ‘cancelled’ or not. But dinner and/or drinks with the super-prolific, genre-hopping British author Michael Moorcock would be a treat, I’m confident of that one.

What’s your favourite food?

Pljeskavica from a Belgrade kiosk.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

Does YouTube count? In that case, Natalie ‘Contrapoints’ Wynn. But I always have time for my good friend, ex-colleague and all-round nutcase Max Vassallo and his TikTok madness.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

Victorian London, to check up on some research, and perversely take a sniff at the Thames to confirm whether the stink was really that wretched.

What book are you reading right now?

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I don’t drive, so teleportation.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Being able to have my bio read ‘He divides his time between… [Country X] and [Country Y]’.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

John Carpenter’s Lost Themes III: Alive After Death, and the Black Sabbath back catalogue.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Showering is the one place I can spare myself some multi-tasking, so silence is my go-to there.