Hi Overlanders! Greetings from Cyprus! Island of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. I am here working on my novel, Misplaced. One-quarter of my novel is set in Cyprus, the rest in Melbourne. I have been writing my novel for six years. I am amazed at how much richer my prose is simply by being amongst the Cypriot people and way of life. The characters are coming to life through the dialogue and Cyprus is a living, breathing character. What has also taken me by surprise is that I came to write Misplaced and all this other writing is coming out of me too. I have been writing a travel diary of sorts on my website/blog (a recent post is below), but also everywhere I look there are so many stories to write. I began a non-fiction novel about a year ago, with the working title ‘butterflies in my mirror’, and I am noticing now that I am writing two novels here, my creative non-fiction novel and my young adult novel, Misplaced. The work I have done for Butterflies in my mirror has been just freehand in a notebook, and I am continuing this in Cyprus as I connect with my family and the past.
Another unexpected turn of events is that the Cypriots have taken a liking to Love and Fuck Poems and I have done a few gigs and there is talk of bigger performances next year and translating the book to Greek. I am very excited about the translation and Cypriots are very big readers! More on this will be posted in the coming days on my blog. And you can find some of my other travel experiences there also.
I’d also like to write a post of a more political nature about the recent oil discovery off the coast of Cyprus between Israel and Cyprus. The oil is on the south side, on the Greek-Cypriot side, but the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus claim that because they have 34 percent of Cyprus they are entitled to 34 percent of the oil even though they are illegally occupying Cyprus! There are rumours of invasion. It is a highly politicised issue and believe it or not, Alexander Downer was on my plane to Cyprus! Things are happening over here. Apparently the oil is worth trillions of dollars. In the meantime, here is a post from a couple of days ago.
I wonder what it’s like to feel stuff, to really, really feel stuff, about you. I can’t remember. I’m detached from my reality. They tell me here, it’s fashionable to have affairs whilst smoking European cigarettes. There’s no need to divorce, you can have an affair, and nobody needs to know, and your marriage can appear all shiny on the outside, like crystalwear. I asked my aunty about mosquitoes and she said there are no mosquitoes in her house, her suburb is clean. The first day there was none, then two, then ten and now I’m really itchy. Clear area, yeah right. I’m not sure I’m meant to be feeling like this, like justifying my life, to a country, like I’m shouting at the soil or something. I want to tear the Cypriotness in me out sometimes, but then other times I want to keep swallowing, like wine. I like walking, a lot. I helped my aunty cook koupepgia. I love my aunty. I love sitting and listening to her speak to her friends on the phone about random stuff. I love the sound of her voice. When we were done with the cooking I said ‘yeah! I cooked koupepgia’ and she said ‘no, you only wrapped them.’ Same thing, I replied. It’s all the same, good housewife, bad housewife, mother. It’s all relative. Here it is fashionable to be a good Cypriot wife. Really fashionable. You can have a career too, but to have a clean house, is fashionable. I wonder what they think of me, I mean, really think of me. An old man pulled over while I was walking today in my shirt skirt and asked if I want a lift and I am sure he wasn’t just being nice. Do I look like I hooker, I wondered. I mean, I don’t look like a Cypriot. They dress in the latest fashions, acrylic fingernails and toenails, straight hair, immaculate upkeep of everything, car, house, kids, marriage. Fashionable. Do they think I’m nuts I wonder. Am I nuts? Or is Ella nuts and I’m just channeling her and her shit. I miss people, especially it would seem, friends from Australia that also have Cypriot blood pumping through their veins. Can I fly home for a minute and hug you?
I think I’m homeless again. Hmm. I think I’m homeless. Hmm.
I miss you
I missed the bus today (I think)
Even Il Posto has moved on. I went in there expecting to find Ella sitting at a table eating a club sandwich but instead I was greeted with renovation, shiny modern Cypriot perfection. Cyprus has moved on. When we would land in Cyprus six years ago a bus shuttle would take us to the terminal. Now they have bridges, real bridges. A proper airport. No more roundabouts, just freeway. Cyprus has moved on! We’re still stuck in the past but Cyprus is long gone. Affairs are fashionable. Affairs.
I leave my aunty’s house to go write in a clear space. 341 Creative Studios, Book Box. I can’t find my words at my aunty’s house, I have to go. There are too many photos of ghosts on the walls. I think I saw myself up there too.
Poem (kind of):
I think I missed the bus
A Cypriot boy the other day told me
to catch it on this side of the street
all the way to the old hospital
But I just saw a bus
going in the other direction
that said ‘old hospital’
I think I missed the bus
but I’m not sure though
Cyprus is unpredictable, like me
even though it says on the sign
that a bus for the old hospital
is due at 2:15, it may not come
I should have been on the ball
instead of thinking about Australian men
although he’s Cypriot
and I don’t do wogs, so …
But how was I supposed to know
that the bus might come
in the other direction?
How would I know that?
I’m an Aussie
and our buses come on time
on the right side of the street!
These Cypriots need to get with the program …
*Disclaimer: no poets were distressed in the writing of this work
Koraly is blogging about her journey through her book on her website.