portrait of an author

في يوليو سنة ١٩٢٣، و بعد شهرين تقريبًا من لقائهما، كتب الروائي الروسي الكبير نابوكوڤ إلى ڤيرا -و التي أصبحت لاحقاً زوجته- رسالة و جاء نص كالآتي :


لست معتادًا على أن يفهمني أحد، لست معتادًا على هذا لدرجة أنني اعتقدت في الدقائق الأولى من لقائنا أن الأمر أشبه بمزحة، ثم.. هنالك أشياء يصعب الحديث عنها، لكنك تستطيعين التخلص من كل طبقات الغبار فوقها بكلمة وحداة.. أنتِ لطيفة.. نعم، أحتاجك، يا قصّتي الخياليّة،؛ لأنكِ الشخص الوحيد الذي أستطيع التحدث معه عن ظل غيمة، عن أغنية فكرة، عن الوقت الذي ذهبت فيه للعمل ونظرتُ إلى زهرة عبّاد شمس، ونظرتْ إليّ، وابتسمتْ كل بذرة فيها. أراكِ قريبًا يا متعتي الغريبة، يا ليلتي الهادئة. كيف بإمكاني أن أفسر لكِ سعادتي، سعادتي الرائعة الذهبيّة، وكيف أنني ملكٌ لكِ، بكل ذاكرتي، بكل قصائدي، بكل ثوراتي، وزوابعي الداخليّة؟، كيف بإمكاني أن أشرح لكِ أنني لا أستطيع كتابة كلمة واحدة دون أن أتخيّل طريقة نطقكِ لها – ولا أستطيع تذكر لحظة واحدة تافهة عشتها دون ندم لأننا لم نعشها معًا، سواءً كانت أكثر اللحظات خصوصيّة، أو كانت لحظةً لغروب الشمس، أو لحظة يلتوي فيها الطريق – هل تفهمين ما أقصد؟. أعلم أنني لا أستطيع إخبارك بكل ما أريد في كلمات- وعندما أحاول فعل ذلك على الهاتف، تخرج الكلمات بشكل خاطئ تمامًا. وعلى من يتحدث معك، أن يكون بارعًا في حديثه. وأهم من كل هذا، أردت لكِ أن تكوني سعيدة، وبدا لي أن باستطاعتي منحكِ هذه السعادة – سعادة مشرقة، بسيطة، وليست سعادة كليّة أبديّة، إنني على استعداد لإعطائك كل دمائي، إن اضطررت لذلك -يبدو حديثي سطحيًا- ولكن هذا ما أشعر به. كنت أستطيع بحبي أن أشعل عشرة قرون، بالأغاني والشجاعة. عشرة قرون كاملة، مجنّحة وعظيمة، مليئة بالفرسان الذين يصعدون التلال الملتهبة، وأساطير عن العمالقة، وطروادة، وأشرعة برتقاليّة، وقراصنة، وشعراء. وهذا ليس وصفًا أدبيًا، لأنك إن عدتِ لقراءته مرةً أخرى ستكتشفين أن الفرسان يعانون من زيادة في الوزن. أحبكِ، أريدكِ، أحتاجكِ بشكل لا يطاق.. عيناكِ – اللتان تشرقان عندما تسندين رأسك للخلف، وتحكين قصة مضحكة- عيناكِ، صوتكِ، شفاهكِ، كتفاكِ – خفيفان، مشرقان.. لقد دخلتِ حياتي، ليس كما يدخل الزائر، بل كما تدخل الملكات إلى أوطانهن، وجميع الأنهار تنتظر انعكاسك، كل الطرق، تنتظر خطواتك. أحبكِ كثيرًا. أحبك بطريقة سيئة (لا تغضبي، يا سعادتي). أحبكِ بطريقة جيدة. أحب أسنانكِ.. أحبكِ، يا شمسي، يا حياتي، أحب عينيكِ، مغمضتين، أحب أفكاركِ، أحب نطقك لحروف العلّة، أحب روحك بأكملها من رأسك حتى قدميك.”

– فلاديمير .

10 Pieces Advice to Give Yourself.

1. We all fear the things we might not know. And that’s okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Put your best foot forward and trust in God. Remember everything happens for a reason. It might not make sense now, but eventually all the puzzle pieces will come together and you will see the bigger and clearer picture. 

2.Take time out for yourself. Period. Follow your passion. Learn new things. Pursue what you love. Give your soul that serenity that it needs, and express your true self 

3. Surround yourself with positive people. Remove any toxic people from your life . Sometimes to add to our life we need to subtract. 

4. Your mental health is more important than work. Your mental health is more important than school. Your mental health is more important than anything. 

5. Listen to music. Open yourself up to new songs, new genres, and new artists. Find yourself in the lyrics. Disconnect from the world and connect to the music. 

6. You have a voice. Use that voice. Stand against injustices. Say your opinion. You have the right to be heard.

7. When life gets hard, just take a moment. Step back and breath. You will get through any struggle that comes your way. Just believe in yourself. 

8. Talk to new people. We learn a lot from our experiences with others. 

9. Not everyone you meet is going to stand with you. Life is a rollercoaster. People come on the ride with you; some may be there for the whole ride and some might be there for a period of time. Learn from every individual who chose to ride with you; wether they affected you positively or negatively. 

10. Love Yourself. self love isn’t selfish. self love is important. Always remember that you are good enough.  

A few years ago, Chimamanda Adichie received a message from a childhood friend asking for advice: She wanted to know how to raise her newborn daughter to be a feminist.

For Adichie — a best-selling author who has also made a name for herself as a leading feminist voice — the question was a bit daunting, but she wrote a long letter back to her friend. Now, that letter has been published as a book. It’s called Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, and it talks about everything from how to choose toys to teaching self-reliance to challenging traditional gender roles.

Adichie says writing the letter was useful for her, too. “Yes, I wrote it for my friend, but I think to a large extent it was also my way of mapping out my own thinking. Because I have talked a lot about these things and I care very much about them and I get very passionate … but I realized I didn’t actually have a concrete map of the particular, specific things that I think will help if we do them differently.”

How Do You Raise A Feminist Daughter? Chimamanda Adichie Has 15 Suggestions

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Murasaki Shikibu was a writer during the Heian era of Japan, born in 973. She is most famous for writing the epic classic Tale of Genji, which is considered to be the first novel ever written. Murasaki was from an aristocratic family. She disliked men and mostly kept to herself, spending much of her time at Imperial court writing new chapters for the Tale of Genji. She passed them on to friends, who in turn copied them out and passed them on to their friends to read and copy, and it quickly became popular. Women were thought to be too stupid to learn the traditional written Chinese kanji characters and were taught phonetic kana instead. But Murasaki learned Kanji easily and taught it to the princess Shoshi in secret, causing outrage when she became empress and used it publicly. Murasaki is largely credited for developing Japanese into a written language. She earned herself the nickname “Our Lady of the Chronicles”.  

COLETTE 1873–1954

Celebrated French novelist and beloved public figure, best known for her work Gigi. Colette was introduced both to writing and to Paris’s libertine underground when she married her first husband at the age of 20. He persuaded her, perhaps forcibly, into writing her first novels, the semi-autobiographical Claudine series which included salacious descriptions of same-sex attraction. The novels were published under her husband’s name, which was a fine opportunity for a female author at the time, but when Colette divorced him she no longer had access to any of her books’ profits. To get by, she became a music hall performer. She had a number of affairs with women during her marriage (then encouraged by her husband) and continued to form relationships with both men and women, most notably that of fellow actress Mathilde de Morny. Together they scandalized audiences by sharing a kiss on stage, and police had to be called to quell the ensuing riot. Colette married twice more, earned a reputation for her sexual appetite (her second marriage ended when she began an affair with her 16-year-old stepson), and throughout this time wrote under her own name about women seeking both independence and love. When her popular novel Gigi became a film and then a play, she handpicked a then-unknown Audrey Hepburn to play the title role.