Why I write!
I made this, I have forgotten
T. S. Eliot
When you are searching for answers to what poetry is, it's like searching for the lost sanctuary within you
We met years ago, with the "Storm Lamp", and we never got separated. I read everything of hers. And we traveled together to the stone house of Lemnos. We shared the same cell and the same path.
Maria Lampadaridou Pothou, for the readers of fractal magazine in an interview about everything: For her acquaintance with Beckett and Elytis, for Lemnos and for the Paris era. For Poetry, Theater and Historical Fiction. For her anecdotal diaries, Space, Time, Fate and for the Crisis: "Whatever we lost in the years of crisis, I believe we have finally gained a genuine piece of ourselves, our shared pain has brought it to the surface, the realization that we have to become a little better and a little wiser. To stand above the demand and the anger."
What has Beckett meant in your life, Maria? And what does Beckett mean in our time?
I will try to answer you with fresh thoughts on my acquaintance with Samuel Beckett. To see more clearly what it is that has marked me. What has shaped my writing vision, in the end, what I loved and hold sacred in me. Now that I think about it, it might not have been a coincidence that the ascetic Samuel Beckett, who was not easy to speak with and had written few letters all his life, kept corresponding with me for over twenty years.
And I wonder if, from the first letter I had written to him when I asked him to translate his work "Happy Days" that I had just seen at the Paris Οdéon and had shocked me, I wonder if he had seen the way I could see his theatrical characters and the poetic surrealism he used to approach his own existential dead ends. Unfortunately, I can find only a few of the letters I wrote to him. Maybe I wasn't keeping copies or lost them along the way. And I do not remember how I expressed this utter anxiety his works on human destiny gave me.
But today, as my relationship with Samuel Beckett is a relationship with death and how he defined this "Long Night", I am even more certain that he had seen what I was seeing: The pre-existent wandering, the pre-existing knowledge or memory. It was him who had recommended that I read a book by Peggy Guggenheim that talked about prenatal memory. And when Jacques Lacarrière translated some chapters and sent them to him, he immediately responded with interest.
You know, there are some things that while you think you know them your whole life, you suddenly discover another aspect of them, another interpretation or meaning. Now as I lay out all the stages of our acquaintance I wonder: Why did he ask to read one of my plays. Maybe he wanted to see how I write. To see if my work was consistent with the anxiety of my letters. Some years later, I sent him the "Glass Box" and he responded immediately that he found it very interesting and sent it to Jean-Louis Barrault, who was the manager of Theater D 'Orsé in Paris.
Today I believe that our past lives are a great mystery that perhaps we will never be able to solve. We will never illuminate it with our inadequate understanding.
And what does Beckett mean in our time?
I mention this in the new edition of my book, "Samuel Beckett - The experience of existential grief". Scientific research is already being done to use his work in clinical psychoanalysis. In his book Didier Anzieu "Beckett et le Psychanalyste", he attempts to approach the psychoanalytic aspect in Beckett's works and places it in parallel with Freud's psychoanalysis. “It is a self-analysis through texts, like that of Freud's on dreams, he writes. Only Freud's self-analysis explored the fields of neurosis, while Beckett brings to light the anxieties that afflict the depths, the foundations, of human personality. "
I feel there is a dark mystery here when I reflect on the power of the Beckettian word, as I experienced in translating "Happy days"
Tell us about what this Mystery is for you: Literature in your life and in our time.
I'm also trying to find a different answer here. Another dimension to the question "why I write." Why I spent so many thousands of hours in front of the typewriter and the computer. Hours of my finite life, measured in moments of irreversibility. Why I did it. Even though a few breaths on the mountain with the wind blowing would be more precious. I'm trying to find an answer that justifies me, acquits me, or else I feel guilty about myself.
Is it because I have a small readership? Is it because some people, who are worthy of my appreciation, wrote to me or told me that they loved my books or found their souls in them? And what about my soul? I cut it in pieces and distributed it for free - like my "Gratuitous autumns".
This is what I feel today: That I split my soul into pieces and I need an answer to find out if it was worth it. When your voice drowns in the enormity of silence and scorn. When different policies have been trying to kill your soul for years. When at night you are left alone and sad in loneliness. A loneliness that is your disharmony with everything that is happening around you and overcome you.
I have been writing since I can remember myself. When I realized that the world was born inside me even if I was in the deserted island of Lemnos, the island that was to become the golden source of everything I loved in my later years. And now I'm looking for an answer that tells me that all these thousands of hours and the endless anxiety of writing was not a waste of time. That maybe it was "time lost and gained".
It may have been time "gained". And perhaps we have to see it that way so we can be "vindicated" - and maybe for the vindication of everyone who writes
Yes, I need to see it from that perspective. To see why I sacrificed all these endless hours writing. This is what torments me most this period in my life. Perhaps because of some traumatic event, these traumatic experiences always force us to face ourselves. Because you realize that when you write, you deprive yourself of your loved ones. Or from what you would have experienced because a moment of real life is infinitely more precious. But that is something you can never get back.
And I begin with the fact that one writes because this feels like a necessity. And I say. Writing was primarily an internal need for me. An absolute necessity to realize, every moment, the moment I lived. To transform it into poetry, into beauty. We seek beauty by writing. We may dip our pen in cruelty, violence, relentless pain, but the soul seeks beauty in righteousness, love, harmony. This is why I write. That's why I wrote so passionately and with so much personal deprivation.
You take the raw event be it historical or not, exactly as it was birthed by time, with its blood almost still wet on it, you take it in your hands and try to find on it what is not visible, the tiny details which are actually the most essential, so that you can enlighten it to its utmost depth, to appease it, to complete it both in time and in your soul.
I can say today, that this is the reason why I wrote all I have written. This is the reason I still write. In order to find that which is invisible. To reach the Unspoken, the Concealed. To reach the very heart of the Mystery. In order to enter into the places forbidden by logic. In places metaphysical like the ones, in “The Angel of Ashes”, to commit the Hubris in order to reach a different truth and to reveal this different truth. And what I give, what I gave to others, to the reader, returns back to me. You can only earn yourself by giving it. Thus, my soul, scattered into pieces becomes a whole, becomes stronger. The Truth that you give away, makes you feel strong. Even if this truth can have many faces. You give your own in order to free yourself. Knowledge frees us. Truth frees us - even if it is only our own version of truth.
At this point in time, and with all the books that I have written, regardless of their fate, in our rejective world, I can now see clearly that. What you give is your real power! Or, what you give, is what you own.
Because a good novel completes any "event" or "part of life" that we have seen with our elliptical vision. That we have experienced with our elliptical senses. It adds and completes it, by giving to it the metaphysical dimensions, and it enlightens its hidden mystery. This procedure enriches the writer. It enriches firstly the one who writes. It enriches me.
That's why I wrote what I wrote, to enrich my soul. To look beyond what is not visible. And maybe that's why we write with our soul and not with our mind.
Would you say the same about theatre?
Theatre is a different passion. Sacred passion. I wrote plays with sacred passion. I used to say I only wanted to write theater. But they were not staged. Very few were staged in Greece and even less abroad. And I resigned. Some of the ones that have been staged have been published in a first volume, and some of those that haven't been staged are in another volume. And I say, at least they found a "roof". But I don't see how I could "shelter" the ones left in the drawers. The difficult circumstances we live in do not allow us such luxuries.
But I loved writing for the theatre. Theatrical words run through my veins. Even if my strongest works were not staged. But I certainly don't regret writing my novels, some of which are my favorite. Today I believe that writing my novels I have passed some theatricality within them. Like the delusional words and poetic psychography of the absurd. The small play I had sent to Samuel Beckett belonged to the poetic Theatre of the Absurd. It was the “Glass Box”
The first years in Lemnos and the first steps in literature.
Let's go back to Lemnos, and to the first ones you wrote, to your first contact with writing and with your own writing?
We go back very far. And on very difficult paths. Those were difficult years back then. Hard. And at the same time, they were luminous. But instead, I would rather tell you something else. I had two huge bags in my home's time-chest with the diaries of my life. And every time I felt insecure and desperate throughout life, I didn't know what to do and I was thinking of destroying them. I was even told that there is a shredding machine that easily destroys them. So one day, we were sitting side by side with Angelos Delivorias at an event at the Benaki Museum, and I whispered to him: “I have two bags with my diaries… what should I do? Burn them?"
As he was sitting quietly listening to the speaker, he turned his head and looked at me in fear. "No!" he said loudly, and everyone turned around and looked at him. "No, for God's sake!". "You'll bring them to me so that not even a small piece of paper is lost..."
And I got scared. Many nights I couldn't sleep thinking about what to do now. Because after that, I had decided to destroy them for good. I had also purchased the shredding machine. These are my personal thoughts, I said, my personal moments, and I can't share them. But before I began the process of destruction, I got to read some pages. See what I wrote. And I went crazy. My life! My whole life was there in small suspended scenes in the rain of some stations or in the solitude of a road! I had forgotten all this or they were blurred and uncertain inside my memory, and now these hasty hurried notes were bringing them back, bringing my moments alive with my breath on them. And I fell into new dilemmas. I was thinking of Eliot's verse: "I made this, I have forgotten / And remember!"
And when I started finding endless pages about how I was beginning to write a novel and what things or moments influenced me, I said, oh no! They should not be destroyed. I remembered, how I felt curled up in a corner of Hagia Sophia when I was writing "They City has been taken," or how I climbed to the Seven Arched Gates of Hades when I was writing the "Angel of Ashes".
And then I decided to search all these thousands of pages and keep only those related to the writing of my books. And some biographical ones, perhaps useful for those who loved my books. I worked all day long for two years. I passed the thousands of pages through my aching eyes. And they became a book, "Paths of My Angel"
I wish all the best for the book's release next year! And let us now dwell on the years in France!
And the answer is there, in my diaries. I used to write wherever I was, on trains, on roads, at stations. My play "Antigone - Or the nostalgia of tragedy" which is one of my favorites, I wrote it between stations. I wanted to understand. How I suddenly left with a scholarship from the French Government from the desolate seaside I loved and found myself directly on the radiant avenues of Paris. And what that meant for me. How Lemnos came to my dreams every night, carrying all the moments of my life. My house was there with its trunks open and with memories flowing from the cracked walls. I was only rescued of these strange dreams when I collected them in a book titled "Nights of the Moon". This book was born out of the dreams of Paris. And to this day I feel it's my most crystal clear "aquatic" writing. Maybe one day I'll be able to get this book released again. It is one of my favorites, my childhood through my dreams transformed into images of poetic surrealism.
And what about Elytis in your life?
It was like Beckett but in another dimension. Odysseus Elytis is also in my diaries. I had met him long before, in my youth. He was the one who wrote me a wonderful letter for my first poetic collection "Encounters". I was still living in Lemnos back then. And you know, in those years there were no bookstores on the island and people were still traumatized by the hard years of the German occupation. My heart was shaking like a leaf for that first collection of poetry I had published. At that time, I had just been appointed to the Provincial court of the island as a clerk. What an unforgettable experience. I had gained the position by written exams along with thirteen other.
But Elytis, Elytis's poetry, came into my life long after I returned from Paris. That period I was feeling the need to "wash away" the existential anxieties of Western intellect. From the Beckettian non-transcendent abyss. From the darkness of philosophical nihilism.
For two years I worked on Elytis's poetry. I wrote my book "Odysseus Elytis, A vision of the world". In fact, I needed to find my own Hellenism, the transcendent ways of the Ionian visionaries, the metaphysics of Hellenic enlightenment. And Elytis' poetry was all that, a great poetry. Every time I finished a chapter, I would take it to him to see and tell me if I was on the right track. He liked my texts, the way I wrote them, how I desymbolized the oracles of his poetry. He had just received the Nobel Prize. All those details are included in the diaries that I hope will be published this year. It is my hope and together my wish. Because it may well be my most essential book.
How does poetry come to you and how does prose?
My long journey has taught me different things. And I said poetry is not poetry. Poetry is a function of existence. If your soul is of pure poetry, whatever you write is poetry. Perhaps no one can say exactly what poetry is. It remains a profound mystery. It is what sometimes shines in the depths of our soul mysterious and untraceable, to signify the existence of another unseen truth. But I can say that I feel poetry. What was it for me. And here you will allow me to read you a small excerpt from an interview I had given to Dimitris Gionis on Eleutherotypia when my poetic collection "Mystic Passage" was released.
"I started with poetry and I know that only through poetry I am able to find my sense of the world and existence. For surely poetry is not a function of speech but a function of existence. It is an ever-changing way of "mind" and "being" in the world. It's your personal magic relationship with things. It is what makes you transcend your earthly convention and create a personal vision. And, above all, it has nothing to do with the cynicism and vanity that dominate our market.”
Because what I am interested in is to know what my insignificant ephemeral life in the world means and what this metaphysical dream is, that drives my soul to seek this other truth. It was the first time I thought that poetry is not words but a function of existence. And so from one book to another and from one bastion to another, I came to what I believe today.
When you search for what poetry is, it's like searching for the lost sanctuary within you. This lost sanctuary in the depths of our soul might be identical to what poetry really is. In my novel "Moonlight", when my hero asked Monk Thavor what is sacred, he replied, "Your encounter with what transcends you." The moment of illumination, as I said. And perhaps this is the clearest answer to what poetry is.
But I must read to you another small passage about how I see poetry today that is no different than it was twenty years ago. In the meantime, I had also written the Angel of the Ashes, the novel that defined me as a human being. Well, this quote is from the collective volume of my eleven poetry collections "I gather my belongings" and I wrote there: "Poetry has always been the raw material for me, for my books, the metaphysical element of my vision. And more, it was the building material of my novels. "
That is what I believe today. An attitude that came out of an infinite amount of time to experience these subtle hints of the soul. And I believe that neither you nor I are poets and some others who write poems. A poet is one who lives poetry as a primordial experience. Like the woman on the plain of Lemnos that I had met one morning and heard her muttering. And I also write this somewhere else. She was wearing a long black robe as if she had come out of the chorus of an ancient tragedy and was gathering tomatoes and beans in a pan. She was working and muttering. And I approached her to hear what she was saying:
He was thirty one years old glowing like the sun
Glowing like the morning star
and look at me his poor mother
I didn't dare to talk to her. And when I approached her, she didn't even turn to see me. But I stayed close to her to hear what she was saying.
Thirty one years old, tall as a cypress
He is gone and the sun and and the stars have gone dark
Like an eagle being struck by lightning
An original folk song. And it was Mother. The symbol of our folk poetry. That is why I say, a poet is one who lives poetry in its primordial birth even if it's never written. Or even further: Even if he or she doesn't even know how to write it in words.
There is the poet of the paintbrush. The poet of the theatre scene. After all, isn't the inspired stone-carver a poet? I have written about a sculptor in the "Sacred River", and I still remember how he worked the stone to give it shape, how tender his touch was. A poet is the one who "cultivates" the amorphous and the non-existent, the chaos, to give it shape. To "transform" it in the archetypal sense, it means, to shape it into "the world" as in the line of Anaxagoras: "And the mind that came to be has transformed chaos into cosmos".
Every human being has the right or the gift of being a poet at some of the great moments of his life that I have called moments of illumination or else moments of transcendence.
And I also write in the collective volume: "Today as I now believe that poetry is beyond words, but a function of existence, I say that my clearest poetry is my novel" The Angel of the Ashes ". The eleven collections of poetry only paved the way for my sad Angel. Wandering with him in the asphodel meadows, I learned that poetry is the primordial material of lost memory, the treading of the soul on the abyss”.
Aside from the Angel of Ashes, some of my other novels I could say are poetry in a broader sense. Like the "Sacred River", "With the Storm Lamp", "Moonlight". No, just poetic. Poetry. It's the way they are built on poetic surrealism. And not only my own novels but also other writers I've read and loved.
Historical Fiction and Time
Maria, let's talk about your historical novels, is historical time a finite time or eternally lasting?
Historical time is forever in our consciousness. Only historical events are irrevocable. But the time that surrounds them and brings them into us in an endless flowing memory - collective memory and cellular or personal memory, makes them forever alive. In such a way that every time we discover new elements that illuminate these events, new dimensions of irreversible being, relentless being I would say, which captivated them through time. And I know, you want to ask me if these events are "appointed" - if our lives have been "appointed" from an unsuspecting time.
And if we can change that
No, we can't. In the four years I was writing "The City has been taken", this question had irritated me immensely. I saw all the old prophecies that were spoken a thousand years ago about how and when the empire's capital would fall, and it drove me crazy. One prophecy, a thousand years ago, said that the City would fall when Constantine, son of Helen would be king.
Another prophecy, just as old, said that the City would fall when the moon "though full, it would seem missing". This prophecy is quoted by Genovese Nicolo Barbaro, who was an eyewitness. And the people of the City knew the prophecy. So on the last full moon, May 26, Thursday, when people saw the moon disappear that night, they realized that their end was now "appointed." And nothing could overturn it. Because the prophecies were there. And they were all verified one by one. And they ultimately believed it was "god's will" for their City to be lost. As well as those who in the following years studied the prophecies and the signs, the infinite omens, the ones who studied the light "descending from heaven" that was lost two nights before the Fall - just when Mehmet was desperate from this supernatural "light" was getting ready, "for come tomorrow the siege will be lifted", to give up the next day. Well, future scholars said exactly this: Those events were unchangeable in time.
That is the only way I can answer you. And, no, we can't change that. Because any historical or not event "takes place" in some other dimension of time we are not aware of.
What does the "Angel of Ashes" and "Sacred river" mean to you?
I have said many times that if I had just only written the "Angel of Ashes", it would be enough for me, in the sense that I would have fulfilled my debt to the gift or the burden of writing I was given. I called it the verification of my soul. Today I couldn't write a single page of it. All of those symbols and codes, which were probably the symbols and codes that the soul itself uses to express itself, took me very deep into the paths of the Concealed and the Untrodden. Of the Forbidden. But it is strange how this difficult and mysterious novel, the highly metaphysical with the dark paths of the mist where I had been walking with my sad Angel for two years, was loved by a completely uneven reading audience. I have received letters from highly spiritual individuals but also from ordinary people. People of the daily toil. And yet, it has been a best-seller for a long time! You will probably remember that.
In both cases, the letters talked about something shocking when reading the book and how this "geography of death", based on the folk song, helped them discover their own self. I could say something similar about the Sacred River. These two novels contain everything else I wrote. They are the paths of my soul.
Do "Miracles get angry when you don't believe in them" Maria?
Tell the flower to bloom! The flower will obey you. And that's how it is! or “Believe in the Impossible! It is like causing a miracle! ” This is poetry: To create the miracle with the power of your mind.
“Τον μεν νουν κινούντα την δε ύλην γενομένην”, είπε ο Αναξαγόρας. “Ο νους που κινεί και η ύλη που γίνεται με την εντολή του”. Σε αυτόν τον λόγο του Αναξαγόρα είχα στηρίξει το βιβλίο μου για την ποίηση του Ελύτη. Γι’ αυτό του είχε αρέσει. “Κάποιος που είδε σωστά την ποίησή μου”, μου είχε γράψει.
"And the abyss rose up to my knees", is poetry, after all, prophetic?
I don't want to put any labels. Simply for me, poetry is both prophetic (such as Elytis's poetry) and metaphysical, (because poetry without some metaphysics does not exist) and erotic - in the archetypal form of love as Elytis's poetry again is. In one of my old poems, I say: "the oracle drips from the cracks of my house" and I like it. But as I said earlier, poetry is not only words.
When my child was six years old and was in elementary school, he used to accentuate the words he wrote very high. And the teacher scolded him. Why do you set the tone so high? he asked him. But he continued to set the tone too high above the word. Why do you set the tone so high? I asked him too. And he gladly replied, "I dip it firstly in the moon!"
Once again, he was two and a half years old. And I note here that every child lives in a similar happiness of poetry, that is at the same time the power of imagination, the paradise of childhood. One morning he woke up and stood behind the crib and said to me, Quick! Give me the train! I take him one of his train toys. No! he says impatiently, give me the train! I give him another bigger train that was in his toys. But he didn't want that either. "The train, I tell you, the real train!" And I didn't know what to do. I noticed a matchbox that was there in a corner, glued to various other little boxes and I give it to him. His eyes were shining! This is the train! He says happily! And I was thinking about how he had traveled in his toddler dreams with his own creation.
What I mean to say is that poetry is a poetic moment that someone has experienced, that every human being can experience. That's why, as I said, no labels are needed. "Poetry's poetry," as Tenessee Williams put it, and it has infinite versions of expressing it. From moments such as these my book "Letter to My Son and a Star" was born, which was a radio show, that aired years ago, when Iakovos Kambanellis was the director of the State Radio, and I have a chest full of letters concerning the show which I still receive. Because I believe that some books can not be touched by time.
"Thirst burns me and I am lost," could we say it's a novel about the crisis? About the existential crisis?
It is about the social crisis as well as the economic one. Whatever the crisis, first it is cultural and spiritual, a crisis of values, then becomes a social and an economic one and finally, an existential crisis that destroys. For some people, it becomes a crisis of consciousness. For others depression and self-destruction. For others, it turns into a force of awakening - as compensation. That's why you see a bloom in cultural events in times of crisis.
My novel "Thirst burns me and I am lost" is not just a novel about the crisis. It came out of experiencing the crisis. It was born out of the need to write what I have lived through all these difficult years of sad absurdity that has brought our country into humiliation. The misery of the everyday citizen. Is this something that we can't accept? It definitely hurts. But that was something real, something that we have all witnessed. The hero Constantine, in the Angel of Ashes, fought for the "humiliation of his death". And in some fleeting moments what goes through my mind is this: how prophetic it was.
When I started writing "Thirst burns me and I am lost", my mind was overwhelmed by images of desolation, people wandering hungry and homeless, nightmarish padlocks blocking the doors of once-thriving businesses in Athens, that was blooming not so long ago, empty streets that seemed hostile with darkness covering the traces of human wretchedness.
In this novel, I was not interested in the metaphysics of life or the pain of existential questions, but only this ruthless daily life in the sense of devastation in all levels of a silent and almost collective tragedy. And what I wanted was to portray man at the time of his defeat. But I didn't want the novel to linger only at the aspect of devastation. That's why its basic structure is love. Love as a sacrifice and as a ritual of existence, as betrayal even when people cannot bear it. Or as a deep sanctuary, when it initiates the soul to comprehend beauty.
I let the characters of the novel walk the streets of destiny alone. A destiny that was also shared by the place they lived in. Basically the novel was conceived from a specific image. On a cold night, I was in downtown Athens and saw a man sleeping in front of a padlocked door. The roads were deserted. Desolate. And that was nightmarish. When my friend who was with me offered him a bag with some biscuits, the man jumped over and grabbed it and then plunged into his own oblivion again.
In this novel, I wanted to show how time, a single moment, captures our lives and leads us to unsuspecting situations that we cannot control. Something like that. "Made from the raw materials of rage and love, the novel walks the dark, Freudian paths: from Soul to Soul". I wrote.
And what about your latest novel "Interview with the swamp ghost"? Tell us how this particular book was born and whether or not the birthplace exists inside the work of a writer?
This is my most tender novel, the most vulnerable metaphysically, the one closest to the other truth, the invisible one, to the other knowledge, which dissolves the darkness and makes you feel powerful. It is based on a story as true and as imaginary as life itself. A story that brings to life real events from the cruelty of the second world war. It speaks of the dark mystery of death and of life's unsolved questions so that the reader can walk alone these misty paths and come out stronger. Alone, the reader will reach the Emerald Light and illuminate his soul. I don't want to tell you anything else. Only that this young-adult novel is my favorite. It is my little piece of amber, as I called it, that came out vertically through my soul.
As for the birthplace in my books, I will say this: It was the reason that all my historical novels were written. "Maroula of Lemnos", "Doxanio", "Nicephorus Fokas", "The Wooden Wall", even though it talks about Athens and Sparta, it brings Lemnos in all its pages, because that is where my main character is from, taken slave as a child and because in Herodotus' texts, I had found a passage, that a historical person who was a brave warrior in the battle of Salamis and played an important role, Andidorus, came from Lemnos. As for the novel "The City has been taken", I will only say this: if there were not for the golden landscapes of Lemnos in my mind, it would be impossible to finish it. That is the only place I could find peace of mind.
Could you tell us what you are writing now?
I went through this existential crisis whether my thousands of hours were lost or gained in the agony of writing. We talked about that. We'll see what tomorrow brings. My diaries are ready for release. I have also written a children's book. Fairy tales are like poetry. It is like magic surrealism that offers you new visions. Children and poetry have the same innocence. A very similar surreal purity.
The crisis and our age
Maria, are we our homes? What is it that we have found in the crisis and what is it that we have lost forever?
We are our homes. And I'm not talking about other people. I'm talking about me. And it takes a lot of effort to tell you how I feel about it and how I put it into so many of my books. How organic it is, how metaphysical even, how existential. First of all, I love my special little place, golden Lemnos, which initiated me to the secrets of its orphic landscapes. And in this love is contained the love of the place in general. In the Wooden Wall, which took an incredible toll on me, as I had to read all the philosophy of ancient life, to understand why Spartans achieved so many great things due to their beliefs and why the Athenians were also great even though their beliefs were different, and why those "few" managed to defeat the myriads, so I wrote this arduous novel about our home. The one we are selling out today, without remorse. We are abusing it. I wanted to portray how sacred the place was for the ancient Greek. Like Aeschylus, who when asked what he would like to be inscribed on his tombstone he said: That I fought in the battle of Marathon!
That was the most important thing for him.
As for what we found in the crisis and what was lost, I need to believe that our country will be reborn. I do not know how. Maybe with its own primordial powers. After the crisis that each of us has experienced through a personal ordeal, something good will be born. Because no matter how much we lost, I think we've found a genuine piece of ourselves, through our own shared pain, the awareness that we have to become a little better, as I said, a little wiser. To stand a little above the demand and the anger.
A question I usually save for last: what do you consider bravery and revolutionary today?
Bravery is to hope for the good that you are expecting. This "good" that the place may bring with its own, as I said, primordial powers. And don't ask me to explain this to you. And the revolutionary thing is to be able to stand up and speak against those with the intention to diminish your life. A "word" that is your silence or your poetry or any of your creative work, so that it becomes homologus to the Good you believe in. So that this Good can be freed.
Thank you, Eleni, for the beautiful discussion we had.
And I thank you, Maria, for our travels and our pilgrimage to the Saint, for our friendship that lasts, with all my heart!
Posted in FRACTAL online magazine on January 15, 2015