About Me

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Award-winning poet and short story writer from Cyprus. Published three collections of poetry: The Voice at the Top of the Stairs (2001), Cleft in Twain (2003) and 25 Ways to Kiss a Man (2004). Cleft in Twain was cited by The Guardian in an article on the literature of the new European Union member states in 2004. My work has won prizes and commendations in various international competitions: among others, in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, the Féile Filíochta International Poetry Competition (Ireland) and the Binnacle International Ultra-Short Competition at the University of Maine at Machias, USA. In addition to a book of short stories, Ledra Street (2006), I have had work published online and in journals internationally. My work was included in Best European Fiction 2011 (Dalkey Archive Press) and in the poetry anthology Being Human (Bloodaxe Books, 2011). Girl, Wolf, Bones – a new book of fairy tale inspired microfiction – was published in 2011.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Small Stones

To make up for my long-ish absence, here are some small stones from the past few days:

1. My makeup palette smells exactly the same as a set of watercolours I had as a child.

2. I tried to make the same soup. I failed. I tried again. I failed again. Some things only happen once.

3. Five seconds of sunshine. Rain. Five seconds of sunshine.

4. The man I always see training tells me he has cholesterol. He asks me if I'm okay, before getting into the lift. Another man takes his energetic puppy for a walk. Youth and old age.

5. I am waiting for a phone call. But is that really what I'm waiting for?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heart

There was a heart in my coffee cup.

Walk in the Dark

Last night's walk and my keys clinking. I could smell the lemon crushed by a passing car on the street. Too dark to be out alone. "What if someone is following me?"
And then, later in the night, the dream: I was taking my finals at University. I hadn't studied. I was looking at the paper, and the paper was looking at me. I have been in this dream several times in my life. It follows me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday

Rain.
Two bouquets of flowers.
The president, his wife.
My headache.
Rain.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Non-Sensical

How dark can a word be? If I look at a word long enough, will it change colour? I am sitting next to a lampshade, and it is not on. These are some thoughts that make no sense. I am feeling non-sensical. I noticed it as soon as I woke up this morning.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Word

I am frustrated. I have had problems with Microsoft Word before, but now it seems I can't even open or use documents. Damn!
(Well, that's my excuse for being away from blogging and river stones for about a week).
Maybe I should get some of those lovely notebooks and start writing, with a pen or pencil. The good old-fashioned way.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ca_?

The woman phoned me to cancel the appointment. "An emergency," she said, "with the ca-"

There was some background noise and I couldn't hear the ending. There was no emotion in her voice, but I didn't have the heart to ask: "Do you mean your car or your cat?"

I've been thinking about it, on and off, all afternoon. One letter makes a big difference.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Church Bells

You wouldn't hear the church bells every Sunday, if you moved.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Orange Spider

An orange spider spotted this morning on a white tile in the kitchen. A tiny, orange spider! I swear, it was orange. Are baby spiders orange until they turn dull and grey?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Place Where You Felt You Really Belonged…?

Martiros Sarian: "Ashtarak, overcast day", 1954. Oil on canvas.


Do I really belong anywhere?
Have I ever felt as if I belong somewhere?
And why am I writing a blog post about it?

The ever innovative and creative Dorothee Lang, with whom I collaborated last year on my first micro-novel The Republic of Love, has come up with this “Blog Carnival” idea and has asked if I’d like to take part.

The idea of "> Language > Place" is to create a virtual journey through different places, in different formats, using different languages. The main language is English, yet the idea is that every post also includes snippets or terms of other languages, and refers to a specific place, country, region or city.

I am a Cypriot of Armenian descent, and I write mostly in English. So I’m a bit of a “carnivalesque” case myself – meaning that people probably don’t understand who or what I am, who the real person behind the mask is.

The truth is, there is no mask. I’m just a writer and the only thing I can tell you for certain is what I really believe in: I believe in what I write. I believe that I can touch people through my writing, no matter what language I choose. Because at the end of the day, it is not which language you write in, it’s what you write, how you write it. And it irritates me no end (to put it mildly) when I hear comments such as “You are Cypriot and so you should be writing in Greek. You are Armenian, so why don’t you write in Armenian?” Doesn’t one have the right to choose another language in which he/she can express him/herself? I once told an interviewer that I felt my writing was my home. That’s the place where I feel I really belong.

I have travelled to Armenia once, in 1983- and wrote “When You Return to Ashtarak” decades later, possibly in 2005. I have written many poems inspired by my Armenian ancestry, the tragic fate of the Armenians. They all touch on the themes of loss and longing, having and not having, yearning. Belonging and not belonging.


When you return to Ashtarak

stand on the bridge
and listen to the silence of our ancestors
in the marrow of your bones

sing sing and wake up the stones
the souls of the dead the river the skies
sing to those red and orange birds in our language
sing those bittersweet words and proud refrains
to show them you remember who you are

stand on the bridge
and listen to the silence of our ancestors
in the marrow of your bones

remember who you are
as you sing to the river Kasakh
when you return

Nora Nadjarian



“…Երբ վերադառձիդ երգես Քասախ գետին,
Յիշէ՛, թէ ով ես դուն:”

Նորա Նաճարեան






Sharp Pencil


Sharp pencil. Never been used. I love my keyboard.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Her Palm


Of course the lines on her palm are getting deeper. She shakes her own hands, and feels for the signs. A man once told her she had a short life, but of course it was a lie. He just wanted to touch her palm.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1st Stones of 2011


Written on a weekend away.

Not sure if they read more like titles or notes (which they were), but I wanted to leave them "pure" because the images are still very clear in my mind.

1. Ballerina in the water.
2. Solitary seagull in the sky.
3. Man running along the coast (of an island).
4. Graphic art type clouds.
5. Sparrows eating leftover peanuts.