The Journey – Part 5

I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession.” John Steinbeck

I returned to Canada a few days ago, so I’m still in a state of transition (jet lag, disorientation), but wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made my trip to Greece possible. I’ve written copious notes (yeah, at least some writing was done) and taken lots of pictures. The information I gleaned will help me take the steps I need to complete my new novel. Fingers crossed.

I’d like to thank The Access Copyright Foundation who provided me with a Marian Hebb research grant to travel and spend time in Greece doing research. I could not have made this trip without their financial support.

I have stayed in touch with the previous Vancouver-based Consul General of Greece, Elias Kremmydas, who, lucky for me, is now stationed in Athens. He was incredibly helpful in the completion of my second novel, The Brink of Freedom, and again I called on him for information and guidance. He provided me with leads to the War Museum of Athens, the Museum of the Culture of Greeks from Asia-Minor and advised me who to contact in Kyparissia regarding seeing the folk museum. Simply bouncing ideas off of Elias was useful. He knows how to frame some of the things I’m thinking about, has a deep knowledge of Greek history, has many contacts and I suspect he has a poet’s heart. As I told him, he should be the writer.

I can’t say enough about the help I received from Librarians, Irini Solomonidi of the Gennadius Library and Angela Malafouris of the Cultural Center of Constantinopolitans. Irini and Angela were generous with their time and I know their efforts on my behalf will eventually make my novel better.

I met with Professor Matoula Tomara-Sideri of the Pantelion University in Athens who has studied the lives of the Greeks of Egypt. We had a lively discussion (she felt like a long-lost sister to me) about this diaspora and I took several notes regarding neighbourhoods where Greeks lived in Cairo during the time covered by my new novel, what happened to them and what still remains. Matoula was a wealth of information and she gave me a copy of her book too. I’m so looking forward to reading it.

I’d like to thank friends Sofia Balanou and Bessie Livanou who led me to the libraries I mentioned above, books I should read and other groups to contact. I feel very fortunate to have friends who take such an interest in my work and want to see it succeed as much as I do.

I’ve missed my critique group—Rebecca Wood Barrett, Katherine Fawcett, Sara Leach, Sue Oakey Baker, Mary MacDonald, and Libby McKeever—while I was away, but they each touched base with me and I knew they were there if I needed them.

Finally, I’d like to thank Alexandra Courcoula and Marilena Tzartzanou for providing me with a home to call my own while in Athens.

Thanks everyone. You have made the toil of writing so much easier and if my novel succeeds (i.e., gets completed and is released to the world) it will be because of your efforts and generosity.

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