Balance: Juggling Act or Tilt?

I was raised to fear and shun extremism. Extremism led to wars, terrorists and eccentricity. In my family you didn’t need to join a cult to be an extremist, merely to be fanatical about certain ideas to the point where you lost sight of other parts of life. My parents were raised in times of…

Subsisting the Muse: Life in the arts

‘I hope there are theatres wherever she goes on to,’ I wrote, when I learned that my mum’s elderly neighbour had died. The afterlife would be no heaven for Pat if it was a mere resting place,  devoid of art, entertainment and gossip.* I don’t know everything about Pat, but I remember this: as a…

Social beyond the tipping point

The tipping point is the moment from which nothing anyone could say will interest you. I’ve combined the conditional and future tenses intentionally, because I mean nothing in the whole possibility of things to be said (conditional)  will be of any interest from this moment on (future). You’re at an event and your social switch…

Café society: Greeks and everyone else

‘I’m a little Greek…’ It’s a line from the lips of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra that accidentally resonates with me. As the daughter of Greek Cypriot immigrants, who grew up in quintessentially English South-west London, and hangs out with mainly British and international friends, I’m slightly Greek too. There was a time when I was more Greek, as a truly bilingual child,…

Who are these people?

Just a week ago I crossed the length of the country without meeting a single  Leave voter. But on June 23rd vote Leavers turned out to be the majority and dragged the rest of us with them, out of the European Union. How was this possible? My lack of contact with the Brexit brigade will…

Teaching boys to write

Savage Fighter has no spare time. Or hobbies. He instinctively sidelines anyone you introduce him to. He has a mouthful of yellow incisors and never misses an opportunity to beat up his enemies. Savage Fighter might sound a bit like the worst boyfriend you’ve ever had, but he’s actually a character in a story by…

Anywhere, Massachusetts

If you were deported, or less harshly, voluntarily expatriated,  what would you need to feel at home in your new place?  Would you embrace the differences or create the same kind of home anywhere? These questions entered my head as I travelled through several homes in the past month and a half with my blue…

Ghosts, Terrorists and Paris the Beautiful

Writers’ retreats are as wanky as they come, but necessary when you’re writing a book. They furnish inspiration at the beginning and filter out everyday distractions when you’re trying to finish.  There are the formal ones that take you to the countryside haunts of Writers Of The Past for quite a fee. It is always…

Presence in Goodbyes

I’ve had a golden book under my wing for the past week, Amy Cuddy’s Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Life’s Biggest Challenges. It’s golden in at least three ways: in colour; in its sunny, empowering message, and in drawing attention to its reader. Whenever I’ve been with the book in public, I’ve been approached…

Repetition-lore

‘As soon as they say “that’s interesting,” you’ve lost them.’ These were the words of cosmic navigator, Gahl Sasson at what ostensibly turned out to be a group therapy session about life and death narratives. When I saw a flyer for a storytelling workshop at my yoga studio, amidst others that promised to open up…