The newspaper article intervieew with writer and script writer Nicos Panayotopulos, translated from the Greece to English:
Nicos Panayotopoulos has been one of the capable legends of modern Greek reality for years. We discuss on the occasion of his latest collection of "Restless Edges" (), A sequence of stories that draft the vocabulary of absences and desires, people who crumble through their daily doubts.
- In the last year we have been experiencing an extended period of pandemic insecurity. Social cohesion is being tested as well as leadership. We hardly realize that we are no longer invulnerable, elementary contact has subsided, conspiracies have flared up. As a writer with experience in public space how do you experience all this?
Nicos: You don't need any terrible experience to scare anyone! The other day, in the Resurrection, the interceptor priest was not satisfied with the presence of the world - he asked the masked believers to stay and communion! At the same time, participation rates in vaccination cause painful surprise and wonder. I think even in the age of over-information people don't learn or how, however, they learn too slowly... I'm not particularly optimistic - I know we won't invest in education. Hopefully, at least, until next pandemic not to forget what it means to have a reliable public health system.
- Many say that in unprecedented situations like now, the literature and art in general, can find appropriate ground and ′′ describe ′′ the treaty beyond the trivial ones. How much does this apply to you or not?
Nicos: I think in the nature of Art, therefore literature, is to identify and highlight the unprecedented of the human treaty even when circumstances do not dictate it with such intensity. Right now, news coming from India or Brazil, say, goes beyond any literary intent. Unprecedented situations lead people to their limits more often. And this uncharted territory can be a privileged field for art.
- The time of our collective course has changed in recent years in Greece or can it happen in the future? And in which direction do you believe?
Nicos: I don't see any collective in our course. Direction - illegible for now - will be the recommendation of contradictory torques developed within a fragmented society, a society that is reported and reportedly, synthetic pursuits, no aesthetics, no vision, no even - and this is the worst - one elementary code of values.
- What role have mass media played in the way of textual thinking? We see for example the first person dominating, and a multitude of autobiographical content posts. How do you see this turning out?
Nicos: We write - among others - to be read. And social media offered, unexpectedly, an audience to everyone. No harm this far. Not autobiographical content posts are the problem, but their targeting. Easy ′′likes′′ can be a trap. It's not enough for raised thumbs and colorful hearts to justify the literary framework of self-referent posts. On the other hand, I never saw so many books discussed in such an extent - although not necessarily in capable depth.
In what way do the limbs worry about in your latest collection of short stories and what are those ends?
Nicos: The heroes of my book stories don't sleep peacefully at night. Tortured by their denials and failures, anxious for their mistakes and sins, crushed by remorse for what they did or omitted, for what they said or silenced. The common denominator of their stories is the ungodly erotic passion.
In ′′ Restless limbs ′′ we see elements of your life becoming fiction material and fiction involved in at least plausible incidents. Autobiography and fiction have separate directions? Are they involved and to what extent? Overseas autofiction to rise rapidly. What need is behind this rise?
Nicos: Someone wiser than me has said that there is no fiction without an autobiographical basis. This has always been the case. If I have to add my cleverness I will say there is no autobiography without fiction interference. Proportions are different every time. As for autofiction, it is certainly not today's discovery - this is probably a tag of publishing marketing.
In the latest collection of short stories we see you dominating this that we say verbal speech. The daily dialogue or even the internal monologue. What process do you follow to achieve this tangibility of the protagonists?
Nicos: Thank you for observing. It takes, you see, enough effort to enter the life of your heroes, to look at the world for a while through their eyes, to finally speak their ′′ language To me, my heroes language is every time the way to unlock their world.
In the book, we watch people who are in an oscillation. Love relationships and family either stay about incomplete, or contain the gaps of a life with obstacles. How much do our little absences, our doubts, our escaping thoughts define us?
Nicos: We are the sum of our choices: our absences - small and large - define us as much as our presence - sound and low-speaking. Our doubts carry the same weight as our certainties, though the latter may prove destructive more often - exactly what goes for our escaping thoughts and obsessions.
What can literature mean to you? What's its materials?
Nicos: Literature for me, as a writer, is the land of absolute freedom. Literature for me, as a reader, is the remarkable - no matter how much it seems imperfect, or perhaps even exactly that - trying to express the meaning of life. Her materials are language and human experience.
Are both the pandemic and the crisis showing us how the model of established state culture structures in our country should change or just all it takes is good management?
Nicos: If we had decided that cultural product is a necessity and not a necessity, then the model of state culture structures should be negotiated with the sole purpose of its greater effectiveness.
What motivates you and you keep writing and sinking into stories?
Nicos: My mother was telling me a story from the occupation. In the year of famine, a woman in Chalandri went out to harvest vegetables to eat with her husband. When she returned, she couldn't open the door of her house. Her husband had starved to death and his body was preventing the door from opening. This story has long haunted my nights. That time I had seen a cover of Orwell's Animal Farm in cartoons. It must have been the same time that I started studying and happened to start with Captain Nemo of July Verne. This is how the damage happened - I think stories are my only weapon to get through this life. I don't know any other way...