Ever heard of a scientist writing short stories? – It is actually a rare case, next to impossible to find. Northeastern University, however, just found theirs. Scientist Vladimir Torchilin found his passion for writing, having written over 100 short stories and novellas in a span of 40 years. He primarily writes in Russian, which surprised his wife and him when some of his stories resembled some of the blockbusters, including ‘The Terminal’ directed by Steven Spielberg.
‘The Terminal’ sees Tom Hanks as an Eastern European Immigrant who has gotten himself stuck on John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Not so surprisingly, Torchilin’s short story ‘Time in Between’ is a beautiful chronicle of an individual, wealthy and of a businessman, who willingly decides to live inside international airports across the globe. On the similarities noticed in these two stories, Torchilin stated, “The two are slightly different, but my wife is sure that if one of the film’s crew members spoke Russian, he could have read my story”.
Torchilin’s stories are vivid and realistic, often based on ideas, places, and people he observes every day. It might be from a distant conversation or something he read in some paper, or even from something that caught his attention while going back home – but these influences, Torchilin believes, has helped him write the way he does. However, his personal interests lie in historical texts, especially Winston Churchill’s extensive account of World War II. Even then, many of his stories narrate the confusion and consequently the necessity of personal identity.
Torchilin’s favourite authors include Ivan Bunin, William Faulkner and Haruki Murakami. He believes that when one has a critical approach towards life, it helps a lot to preserve yourself; that is what his writings reflect. His writing style is quite different than normal; he will go days, even weeks, without picking up the pen. Once the inspiration hits, then you will see Torchilin’s hands flying over the paper.
“I feel overloaded with an impression…and start to write,” he says.