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  • Athenian Blues |  Baby Blue |  Pol Koutsakis


April 2020

 Where you are currently living and are you needing to self-isolate in your country? 

I am currently living in Perth, Australia, and as is the case with almost every country in the world, non-essential gatherings outdoors have been limited to a maximum of 2 people and social distancing is kept diligently.  So yes, I am self-isolating.
How are these surreal days influencing your normal writing process?

They have influenced it indirectly. In my other life I am a university professor, so the amount of extra work that was needed to quickly move all our courses online has made it impossible for me to write for the past 3 weeks. Now, however, I hope to find my rhythm again.

What are the little things that are getting you through this extraordinary time?

The big thing is family. The little thing is chocolate. It always will be.

If you had to isolate yourself with one other writer, who would it be and why?
There is a famous saying by Arthur Koestler, that “To want to meet an author because you like his books is as ridiculous as wanting to meet the goose because you like paté de foie gras.” But since you are asking, I would hope we would have a great time with Robert B. Parker, because his crime novels were by far the wittiest, most entertaining books while tackling about very serious things at the same time.

 Which historical writer would you find it difficult to be self-isolating with? And why?

Probably many, for the reason explained by Koestler above. But since I have to pick one, I would say Ernest Hemingway. As great a writer as he was, the combination of his heavy drinking, hot temper and constant need for adventure would not make him the best companion for me.

Do you have any local stories of kindness or good deeds that you can share?
A great story I found out about the other day was that a Greek-Australian in Melbourne gave each unemployed person waiting in a long line outside a government agency a $100 bill, to help them “put some food on the table”, as he explained.

What are you currently reading for pleasure?

“A Dangerous Man” by Robert Crais

Conversations with Neil Simon (edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Ben Siegel)

and re-reading the Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker

 Is there a local dish or comfort food that you are eating more regularly at the moment, to get you through these turbulent times?

I am eating Greek (and more specifically Cretan) food at home, prepared by my wife who is an excellent cook: Cretan recipes for tyropita (cheesepie) and lentils, as well as some incredible Australian fish, like the baldchin groper.

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    Francois Von Hurter
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