Collecting stories inspires internal writer, traveller

Finding a immaterial sorcery in a everyday, one author tells THEO PANAYIDES about touching those she meets and a knowledge of comparison people


Bus Diaries, pointless impulse No. 1: Jimmy a coiffeur in Polis Chrysochous talks to a secret woman, revelation of his many years during sea. On a walls of his emporium are aged snaps of unexplained children, several collection of a barber’s trade and a print of Jimmy himself in his youth, sporting a pretentious horseshoe-shaped moustache. The ’tache is now trimmed, a hair lanky and straggly, a immature male comparison and slyer. He tells a secret lady of some long-ago liaison: “I fell in adore with this lady in New Zealand. She had one leg. we met her in a bar”. Of course, one of those one-legged girls we accommodate in bars. New Zealand is full of them.

“I’m very, unequivocally meddlesome in people,” says Eleni Xenou – a secret lady in question, yet we do locate a glance of her during other points in a video. “I feel like, if we were to hang a pointer on myself, it wouldn’t contend ‘Journalist’ or ‘Writer’. I’m a gourmet of stories. People intruigued me. How they think, what there competence be inside them, what they contain, what they remember. we mean, unequivocally removing to know–” she stops herself, as if clever not to overstate. “Not removing to know, yet usually quickly touching that something inside them.”

Is that true, or usually a spiel? we assume she didn’t usually make adult this glorious outline of herself as ‘a gourmet of stories’ on a coax of a moment. “There’s a novel inside any one of us,” she tells me later, quoting author Kostas Mourselas – and quotes a accurate same line in a Bus Diaries video, right after chatting to Jimmy a coiffeur in fact. There’s a slight clarity of aria about a encounter, something somewhat assumed – yet she couldn’t be friendlier, pours me a potion of iced pomegranate extract and asks “Do we mind if we smoke?” before rolling a initial of several roll-ups – simply given Eleni is on a wrong side of a fasten recorder. Ordinarily she’d be a one seeking a questions, for many years during Phileleftheros and elsewhere, her collection of personal ‘stories’ including some important interviewees like Paulo Coelho and Isabel Allende. She met a latter in San Francisco, carrying trafficked median around a universe (she claims) for a answer to a heavy question: “Tell me, Mrs. Allende, what creates life interesting?”.

Eleni’s possess answer would presumably embody travel, that she did compulsively for decades (one reason given she’s never managed to save many money, she sighs) – above all during a year she spent in Asia, creation her bottom on a small Thai island of Ko Pha Ngan and venturing out to Laos, Vietnam, Bali and so on. She finished ends accommodate partly by distilling her practice into a weekly ‘travel diary’ mainstay for a paper behind in Cyprus – yet in fact she didn’t need many income (that was a point), shunning hotels and following “that encampment of wanderers” who camped out on Ko Pha Ngan like a blissed-out hippies in Alex Garland’s The Beach. They were something of a multi-coloured crew, a smattering of drifters and yoga teachers yet mostly “people perplexing to find themselves” – many of them between 35 and 55, “at a theatre when they were holding a mangle from their lives, and that was unequivocally interesting… It’s engaging to accommodate people in a kind of movement impulse of their lives.”

Bus Diaries, pointless impulse No. 2: a secret lady – now, briefly, seen, her shrewd, slight eyes giving her a sharp countenance of a bird of chase – talks to an 84-year-old encampment lady creation olive oil. The aged lady’s supporter is a smiling immature Vietnamese lady named ‘Two’ – and this contented partner binds adult dual fingers (the secret lady carrying presumably attempted to interpret a name formed on her possess practice in Vietnam) to make transparent that, no, her name unequivocally is usually … Two
BUS DIARIESBus Diaries is Eleni’s new project, indeed a corner plan with her business – and life – partner Christoforos Roditis; it’s a array of brief videos (four have already been posted on YouTube, with 4 some-more to go; there’s also a Facebook page, with a heroine removing on a train and streamer off into farming Cyprus, customarily encountering a brew of aged Cypriots, British retirees and immature unfamiliar ‘helpers’. Her possess contemporaries (she’s 47) are mostly absent – not by design, simply given that era of Cypriots has roughly wholly fled a villages – and a tinge competence also chafe for some viewers, being consistently wonderstruck: all is quaint, lyrical, magical. Eleni’s default mode seems to tend towards poetry, a immaterial sorcery in a bland (that’s what she loves in her favourite authors, particularly Haruki Murakami) – not usually on video yet generally, even when she’s giving me directions. “It’s a yellow house,” she says on a phone, explaining how to get there yet carrying to be prodded for a tangible address. Colours are magical; addresses are not.

It is indeed a yellow house, low in aged Nicosia, ornate with light-blue shutters and out-of-date transport lanterns. There’s art on a walls, yet reduction than we competence design from a lady whose essay (and editing) seemed in Phileleftheros’ informative pages for 18 years; a residence is airy, pursuit courtesy to a high domed roof and atmospheric yard in a back. Eleni limps into a courtyard, her baggy being a outcome of a feet operation that’s kept her housebound for weeks now. It’s a Saturday morning and unequivocally quiet, or maybe it’s some-more accurate to contend that a sounds are unequivocally specific: a hail of swallows, a peal of breeze chimes, and a uncanny rattling sound that descends from a roof whenever someone walks in a living-room. Those are a sounds of a roof, she explains: “I like to contend it’s my defender angels walking about”.

More of a sorcery in a bland – a tendency, or maybe sensibility, that competence also explain given she indispensable transport so much. Coming into hit with a remote and outlandish isn’t usually a fun thing to put on Instagram: “It immediately broadens your recognition of what is probable in this life”. Comparing one’s existence with that of some encampment chairman in Laos or Nepal creates one comprehend, as she puts it, that “life is something bigger than reality” – that it also includes a mysterious, that we tend to bar from a clarification of ‘reality’. Simply put, we no longer have to feel guilty for devising sorcery in your daily existence: life includes so many else – so many some-more realities over a prejudiced possess – that “what you’ve illusory competence indeed happen”.

Where does it come from, this lifelong reaching-out for mystery? Hard to say, yet she’s always had a restlessness, what she calls “escapist tendencies”. What was she like during 18? “I feel we was someone who was hot on a inside – not in a clarity of an blast yet a good lust to learn, to see, to know things… [Longing] to be a bit random, a bit of a wanderer”. This was all on a inside, however, channelled not into open rebellion (she was never many of a rebel) yet scribbling down thoughts and ideas, duration study Law followed by Journalism. She seems to have grown adult in a amatory yet burning family: “They were both very, unequivocally clever personalities,” she records when we ask about her parents. Her father was also a journalist, indeed a domestic analyst; her silent was among a initial women to possess a betting shop, that she’d hereditary from her father. Both had been married before; Eleni has 3 half-siblings yet is presumably a youngest, being a usually child from her parents’ matrimony – that also finished in divorce. One wonders if that sparked a transport bug (not to discuss a essay bug), a immature lady forgetful of far-off outlandish worlds while surrounded by these big, heated people.

Bus Diaries, pointless impulse No. 3: Mr. Agathocles in a encampment of Anogyra – a good character, bull-necked and toothless – giving a secret lady a advantage of a lifetime’s knowledge from underneath his bald dome, eyes roughly mislaid in folds in flesh. “God save us all,” he shrugs, inferring life in a few well-chosen words: “The earth will swallow us”. Then chuckles during a happy futility of it all, his large physique jolt with mirth.

“I adore a knowledge of comparison people,” says Eleni, blasting during her roll-up. There’s a lot to be schooled from their worldview, and indeed their fatalism – above all, of course, that “this life will finish during some point”. It’s not something she unequivocally thinks about (she’s usually 47), yet she does ‘prepare’ by, for instance, doing yoga any day, holding caring of her physique – and we also prepare, indirectly, by “appreciating your attribute with your partner… Saying ‘Yes, we’ll go – there, together’, shall we say. Just perplexing to grow aged beautifully”. Christoforos is a many poignant attribute of her life, says Eleni – and they seem to have found any other during a poignant time, not prolonged after her life was upended by losing her pursuit usually a few weeks after a haircut (i.e. when nobody was hiring). It’s apparent that she still feels tough finished by, and stays indignant during her aged employers for carrying cut her lax yet any kind of reserve net – not even a month’s income – after 18 years of service; “You usually don’t design that someone will act so pettily”. Then again, she also likes a leisure that comes with going freelance – and is bustling rebuilding her brand, now essay mostly during Kathimerini (which also had a palm in a Bus Diaries) where her work seems to be utterly political, essay on a Auditor-General and “the tongue of hate” in new articles.

Meanwhile, there’s a abounding collection of stories to demeanour behind on – all a people she’s met on her travels (some became friends, who after came to revisit her in Cyprus), and a people she continues to encounter. The wizened 80-something she met on a train who sells lottery tickets outward a Land Registry, has a untroubled giggle of a small lady and wished Eleni good fitness (rather fittingly, given her job). Mrs May in Thailand – another encampment lady and correct comparison chairman with a calm, “rooted” knowledge – who once held Eleni on a bad day yet was too respectful to note that she seemed depressed, articulate instead about a weather: “‘Did we see how indignant a sea was final night?’ she asked me. ‘Yeah,’ we replied, ‘it was unequivocally rough’. ‘But do we see today,’ she went on, ‘what a pleasing day it is?’ And that was her approach of observant ‘Things aren’t so bad’.”

Surely there are also people she can’t stand, though? Of course, she replies; if anything, a comparison she gets a some-more her “patience for stupidity” diminishes – yet it’s not usually foolish people, it’s also (or especially) “those who we feel aren’t loose in their skin”, those who always seem to be pretending. Is she loose in her possess skin? “I feel OK with myself,” she replies simply. “I feel like, given this is who we am – well, during slightest we should try to be good to this person!”

Sounds like a flattering good note on that to leave Eleni Xenou – still incompetent to travel unequivocally well, admittedly, an mocking predestine for a lifelong traveller, yet in fact even a trips have been mostly curtailed in new years (I think she competence be vital by her possess “transit moment”). These days she’s operative on a novel – her first, yet she’s formerly published a collection of her journal columns – essay for several outlets and slaking her lust for sorcery and poser by going on excursions, walking down new paths and entrance into hit with new people. we exit a yellow residence and travel down a street, pointless shards of a review still bouncing around in my ears like a square of music. Could we unequivocally contend we ‘collected her story’? Did we get to know – or not even get to know, usually quickly hold – that something inside her? we theory we tried.

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