"Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily."
Epicurus 341-270 BC from DIOGENES LAERTIUS, Lives of Eminent Philosophers bkX, sec 125
"I am giddy, expectation whirls me round,
The imaginary relish is so sweet
That it enchants my sense."
William Shakespeare 1564-1616 Troilus and Cressida (1601-1602) III, ii 17
I was reading on some other writers' blogs how we writers often tend to be off in Lala land, especially when coming down from an intense date with the Muse. And some of us recount having been like that from childhood. Daydreamers. Gypsies. Eccentrics. I've even been told once that I was "weird". True. That's the way it is with us writers who spend half our time in fantasy worlds and astro-travelling to other places. Frankly I'm only half-here most of the time.
I even decided, a long while back, that so long as I was having an 'affair' with Alexander, trying to write the story of his dynasty's tragic end, that I had no time for any 'real' man in my life.
Well, being the romantic that I am, I have on occasions, strayed off and two-timed Alexander, but frankly having a real living man (as in 'relationship") take up all my time (the amount of time Alexander has in the past years) I'd never have gotten any writing done at all. So that was my choice. And I like my half-fantasy world.
A friend said the other night, "You know so many interesting and unique people." And that's true, because I am drawn to exciting, exotic and like-minded people and enjoy filling my space with them. Some of them are even the living versions of characters in my novels. Others might be traveller friends, gypsies like myself who are not afraid to take risks and leaps of faith into the wild unknown, others are friends who share common interests like music, art, writing.
I've been spending the last few day sorting through old photo albums because tonight two of my women pals are coming over to discuss our up-and-coming Greek adventures. It was a nostalgic trip down memory lane going through those photos. Sad that a great many of the old Plaka crowd are now gone, especially the dear ones like Roberto and Graham. Roberto and I always celebrated our birthdays together and I have lots of photos of our parties, several of them on the rocks behind the Pnyx where I'm planning to have this year's sunset birthday celebration. Of course we'll drink some toasts and pour some libations for the departed and their spirits will be with us. How often since he passed in 2001 have I sat at the To Kati Allo taverna and 'seen' Roberto come round the corner, his slow, ambling walk (those last years he used a cane) and that gruff rumbling chuckle of his, those blue, blue eyes -- the colour of the Argentine sky. Boy, how I miss him! He was not just a friend but my Gemini soul-brother. And Graham, who lived across from the TKA, was one of my favorite drinking buddies. We'd sit long at the taverna over carafes of krasi discussing jazz (he was an aficionado and had a great collection. Used to play sax himself when he lived in England.) Sadly, he died quite unexpectedly just before I got to Athens two years ago.
They are only a couple of the many people who had touched my life, those special people -- artists, writers, explorers, gypsies like myself (Roberto was a painter.) There are still friends in Athens who I will be spending time with. And each time I launch out on another adventure I gather more of these precious sheep into my fold. Speaking of 'sheep', one of my main focuses this time is to get back to the village up on the mountain in Evvia. I know it's not the same now that the shepherd is no longer there, but his spirit is there and that was my Garden of Eden for such a long time I simply can't neglect a visit this year, an afternoon of musing in the shade by the water-fall, a time to put some myrtle on my shepherd's grave, a little visit with the village folk. (Mitso, another of my unique relationships, was my mountain man...a Greek Clint Eastwood. Who would have thought he'd be gone so soon!)
I'm thinking seriously now of beginning my travel memoirs -- my extraordinary life -- my fantastic fantasy life. There's just so much to write about it -- and many of the memories are captured in those photographs. So, as soon as I can get the end of the novel written, I shall begin! (How am I doing with the novel? Well, forging ahead as quickly as I can and the end is definitely in sight!)
"The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy."
Lionel Trilling 1905- 1976 The Liberal Imagination (1950) Freud and Literature.
"Ever let the fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home."
John Keats 1795 - 1821 "Ode to Psyche" (Fancy, l. 1)