Lolita is more interesting than Vladimir Nabokov
May 24, 2017
By Epistimi Binazi
She’s been working away quietly in the publishing industry for over 20 years, in every imaginable post: as a series editor, PR manager, reader, book fair & events coordinator. Books are her natural habitat. Poetry is her oxygen. This year, she’s up for the Anagnostis magazine Best Poetry Collection award, with her book 4 Seasons on The Road (published by Apopeira). She teaches creative writing and has helped many an aspiring writer to find their unique voice and get it published. Nothing about her betrays her studies in Economics at the University of Munich. Until she’s asked to comment on the Greek debt crisis and she dazzles with her scientifically informed arguments. She lives in Exarcheia, works during the wee hours of the morning and sleeps during daytime. Christina Economidou is the reason you might fall in love with poetry, even if you’ve never thought it concerned you.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
Never. It came as a huge surprise that I could actually make a living through something I considered an innate handicap.
What’s the difference between writing and other arts?
None, I guess.
Who reads your drafts first?
Sometimes a specific, beloved friend, other times a specific, beloved colleague. Most often, some stranger.
What is the single worst advice writers tend to give to those wanting to become writers themselves?
I wouldn’t know that. But I guess, whatever it is, it must be something that doesn’t transcend their own, private writing experience.
What is the best advice writers tend give to those wanting to write?
I wouldn’t know that either. But if I were to judge from my own experience, I’d say that whatever begets a love of reading, begets a love for writing. So, read. That’s it.
How do you react to a bad review?
With magnanimity, I would like to think. But it wouldn’t be quite true. I do try to separate truth from sanctimony, and then figure out where in between those two I allowed for a disruptive representation of my inner world, other than the one my chosen words actually carry.
What do all good books have in common?
Nothing, usually. At least nothing that can be turned into a rule.
How have social media affected the development of personal writing?
That’s a crucial question, even though I am not sure they have actually contributed to such a development – in the sense of “maturing”. In fact, I am quite certain that they’ve had the exact opposite effect: if they do contribute to something, it’s to its spreading, its exposure.
If you could choose one writer to spend a day with, whom would that be?
You might think it paradoxical, but I am not as interested in writers as in their characters. I find Lolita way more interesting than Vladimir Nabokov, as I find Frankenstein more interesting than Mary Shelley, and Desdemona than William Shakespeare himself.
What is your greatest fear?
The attrition and helplessness that precedes death. My death, or the death of my real-life heroes.
Would you listen to an audiobook?
What is your favourite piece of art and why?
Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. It’s an ever-pertinent theme, the way it exquisitely captures the metaphysical side of earthly things and of the human condition.
Are you interested in politics? Which politician would you cast as a main character in one of your books?
I am deeply interested in politics. But I would never cast a politician as a main character. It would be so boring! It would be as boring as painting a sun in order to denote summertime.
What was your most important moment as a writer, the one you shall never forget?
The first time an unknown reader contacted me to let me know he was moved by my writing.
How will you be spending your summer vacation?
On the island I adore, I hope, and which always compensates for every hardship I have put up with: Donoussa.
If it were feasible, would you leave Greece?
I’d have to say, tomorrow. Unfortunately.