I was born in the city of Larissa in the region of Thessaly, Greece. I grew up in a house full of people: my parents and my sister Victoria, various cousins, aunts and uncles, family friends. The older cousins provided the younger ones with books and music. For the duration of the summer holidays we moved to Platamon, on the coast of Pieria. For three whole months we played, swam, rode bikes and watched movies in open-air cinemas.
Pes Pes is my close friend. In Greek her names means tell me, tell me. I call her that because she is crazy about stories and fairy tales. When I stop to catch my breath, she will insist: pes, pes (tell me, tell me)!That is how she got her nickname. She is very much like me: all day long she travels and at night she whispers stories to me. I owe her much. She taught me to love stories since I was little. Now I always take her round to schools with me and introduce her to my new friends. Children love her: they know how much she enjoys stories, so they often send her their own.
If you want to send your own story to Pes Pes, I am sure she will reply to you with one of hers.
“I like seeing small miracles in the everyday, which is to say, seeing through the eyes of children, as much as that is possible, of course, because their imagination is limitless. I love fairytales. As you know, fairytales don’t say that everything is perfect, they say that we all lived happily ever after. How? Only if we cross the dark woods, if we dare confront the wolf and the wild beasts and, especially, if we spend the time to listen to the advice of an old woman, a bird, a beggar.”
Small isolated villages
Beaches I discover while exploring
A small spot on the map called Kapetaniana
Tiny churches that spring up in the middle of nowhere
Children (when I was little, I hoped for twelve; in the end I settled for two!)
Animals, especially dogs (I have Sheila now, but I still dream of all those dogs I have lived with – Sido, Milva and Aria)
Oh, all right, cats too (Melia, Che, Arthur are always with us)
Ladybugs (Pes Pes and I are inseparable)
The eagles I watch at Asterousia
Lunching out once a week with my daughter, Alexandra
Playing backgammon after a swim
Drinking raki with my friends at Kapetaniana
Watching Thanos play the piano
Having endless cups of coffee with my girlfriends
Reading or listening to stories
Being told tall tales – even with a pinch of salt!
Hiking (I prefer small mountain paths)
Watching the birth and rise of the moon over the mountain of Kofinas
Reading big beautiful books
Planting trees and flowers and watching them grow
Digging in my vegetable garden overlooking the Libyan Sea
Being thrashed by Stergios in backgammon, chess, running and riding bicycles.
Tight clothes and tight shoes
Rooms without windows
Walking up steep hills
Sheila chasing goats on the mountain
I wish that...
All children could dream, either waking or sleeping
I could have a farm with many animals
I could learn to make cheese and marmalades
I could read all the books I buy
I could travel round the world on a bicycle, or on foot
I could always remember “those who secretly or openly walked with me...”
I give you my word that...
I will defer trifles, truisms, meaningless small talk, socializing out of obligation, meeting people only because it is the done thing. I will see my friends, I will play with my kids, I will watch the films I choose, I will read the books I love. I will travel as much as I want. No more wasting time.