As a genuine pusher of pencils, I’ve written pretty much everything without much difficulty. For myself and for others.
Since the day I started primary school, there’s always been something I want to say in writing and someone to come and ask me to help match a text to their case. I like writing. And I like thinking up combinations. I think I came up with my best ever when I was ten.
On the eve of Independence Day, late
on the afternoon of March 24, I realized I’d lost the sheet with the
poem I had to recite at the school celebrations the following
morning. At the eleventh hour! And only the teacher knew which poem
I’d been given to learn by heart and recite. If I asked my mother
for help I figured I’d earn myself a ringed back–hander and due
punishment. If I asked my dad for help, I figured I’d have to bury
my face in my teacher’s apron in shame, but only after the two of
them had chortled endlessly down the phone; yet more amusement over
old scatterbrains and how they’d have to knock some sense into me
I love Arkas.
I have done for years.
I went to visit my beloved K. in
winter 1999. I was writing the Game worth the Candle at the
time – and there was a lot more worrisome stuff going down.
Apart from all the problems we were to discuss in bars and
student flats, one wet Scottish Saturday morning saw me set
off in search of
BIRDWATCHERS!! Emily’s dad – Emily being the main
character in Game worth the Candle – is a fanatical twitcher
and lives in that neck of the woods… I really wanted to meet
his friends – birds and birdwatchers alike.
Tuesday morning in the winter of '96, I left the manuscript of my first novel with two Greek publishers – the most renowned and the closest friend.
A fortnight later, the most renowned left a message on my answering machine: we’re interested in signing a contract with you immediately!
That day, I made a remarkable impression as a lame Apache dancer on my young son as he played the Red Indian chief under the table. I’d just walked in, barely had time to prize the one shoe off with the one hand and press the button on the answering machine with the other, when I started leaping round Big Chief’s tent, whooping and hollering a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a with one shoe in my hand and the other on my foot as the celebrated voice repeated her wish over and over: we’re interested in signing a contract with you immediately we’re interested in signing a contract with you immediately. I pressed play every time I danced past the machine.
Two days before I signed the contract, I phoned the friend who’d left me in silence for so long: he wasn’t interested, the manuscript needed a lot of work, I should call round for a coffee whenever I felt like it.
Ten days later I dropped a note off round his office wishing him a merry Christmas and the renowned publisher’s list of forthcoming publications before going out for him to buy me a drink.
The following Christmas, we left Athens for a Roman family holiday, having cashed the cheque that accompanied the Best New Author Award for 1997.
In the months that followed, I let my surprise and wonder drive me nuts. What was all that NONSENSE going on with THE BOOK?
Another year later, I let the slippery slope get me like Alice Down the Rabbit Hole as I asked myself: To write again or not to write again? And why write again? And why not write again? And write again for who? And for who not to write again? And what if I don’t write again? And what if I do?
As I plummeted, my friends grew tired of answering and left me to my fate. Indeed, when one day I handed one of them some pages I called a novel, he angrily retorted, veery very good. Keep this up and we’ll be publishing the COLLECTED WORKS in no time at all. And another one, whom I’d just asked without handing him a thing, replied one drunken evening that I was sooooo right in eeeverything, and that I could head for the precipice all by myself.
I found the answer I was looking for on the down and down one morning under TH in my renowned publisher’s catalogue: THalassis Giorgos, THeodorakopoulos Ioannis, THeodoropoulou Viky, THucydides, [TH]Cervantes Miguel, THeotokas Giorgos, THeotokis Konstantinos.
And got back to some serious work on the spot!How could I give up company like that?