KARATZAFERI Ioanna  - Greece

Updated: 20-12-2012 22:41 | Artists

First Person Singular

Even now I have not discovered where is hidden the process of the mind, it’s ideas, experiences or other undefined incidents. Expressed in many ways it was very deep in me and the instrument of my personal non-specialized psychoanalytic ability couldn’t reveal it any other way, except by writing.

One day, fifty years ago, after some free and pleasant times, I was enjoying lying on the grass in the park along the Hudson River, that runs in the West Manhattan, where I was living. Watching through the branches of the trees, shapes like dancing figures on the blue sky,  I felt an impulse to go back to my apartment.

I got there, almost running, and unconsciously I sat at my table and started describing, on a yellow pad, my own microcosm; to put down dialogues between people I had not known or spoken with, but was inventing as the myth was extending touched by reality. I was feeling that the words were breathing along with my natural breath, in the same rhythm.

The pages gained weight and depth, resulting in illustrating my life in the 1960’s with ‘Furnished Rooms,’ a book that is now a classic because nothing is the same any longer.

When the novel came to Greece, it surprised critics and others, like members of various literary groups.   

 What, mainly, was strange to the critics and readers was the use of first person singular, the daring dialogues and scenes written by a female writer, in just her first book.

Until then, just ten years later the closing down of the islands of exile, the prisons, the release of the political prisoners, a novel like that meant freedom of movements and words.

The main subjects referred to were World War 2, the German Occupation, the National Resistance, the Civil War that followed and all the consequences. The critics couldn’t distinguish the real from the invention I’d created. Curiously enough, their surprise didn’t stop them from honoring the book with the first prize of the Nation Awards in 1963.

Since then I have not stopped writing. I don’t remember telling myself now I must write, the same as I don’t tell myself now I must breath. If I stop writing, I shall stop breathing and visa versa.

I don’t force myself to write, it’s not a duty imposed on me by someone. I write somewhere inside me and it stays there until I retrieve it.

Over 50 years I have written books, novels, short stories for children and youngsters and hundreds of editorials for the press.

All this culminated in ‘My place is everywhere;’ four decades of my life, from 1960 to 2000. Every word in it is true.

When I finished the book I never wrote the words THE END as life continues and it will continue.



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