I have never considered myself as being creative and least of all being an artist. I didn’t even think about the possibility that I was a writer and if you would have asked me what I wanted to do in life, I would have answered that I would like to be a flight attendant. Later on I found out that they don’t actually have any time for themselves, so I gave up that idea and wanted to be a translator (which I did later). When I was in the 5th grade our literature teacher asked us to create a story that had no characters in it. I thought it was amazing and as soon as I got home I grabbed a pen and wrote my first short story. I still have it, neatly placed in a book and honestly I still love it. I remember when I gave my teacher the story he looked at me from under the glasses and said with a grave and proud voice: “A writer huh? You should think about that”. Of course a dumb smile got stuck on my face when hearing his words, but I didn’t pay any attention to the comment, I just thought I did a good job.
When teenage years hit me, I had to unload all my sadness and hormones on something; so I started writing poetry. Oh yes, I was writing exactly what I hated, that romantic shit with love all around it, but it made me feel so good. I hated being a teenager and everyone else seemed to want to make it even more complicated than it was, so my pen, some paper to write on and tones of books to read were all the things I needed for a while (that is when love;s butterflies didn’t hit me). By the time I was a student, writing became something I had lost, but reading was still a must in my life, so I started thinking what job can I have that will allow me to read all the time; and that’s how I became a translator. I was still writing a short story now and then, but nothing that fed my inside fire because I had nothing else to unleash. But then the sadness of losing someone I loved hit so hard that I couldn’t focus on anything else except “napkin thoughts”; I used to call them like that because whenever I was out with friends I had nothing to write on, so I was grabbing the napkins on the table and wrote on them. That is how my first book came to life, on napkins and lots of cheap vodka shots. I remembered my teacher at some point and wanted nothing else then find him and tell him that I indeed felt as a writer, but I just never knew it.
I have to tell you that in my country, in the last couple of decades, creativity is not encouraged in any way. If you call yourself a writer or an artist of any kind, everyone will grab a stone and throw it just next to you because you are not even worth to be hit by their stone. So, when I came to Florence, although I was published I never said who I really was and what I enjoyed doing because I was used to hiding it. But all in all, where does this need come from? Why don’t we all have it? Why do you feel the need to unleash yourself into something creative and not in a cheap conversation to a supposedly friend? How do you know who you are before becoming…? When do you understand that you are not whole without filling that empty space with any form of art? Does anyone have an answer to these questions?