Jan 132014
 
Feeding the Doves

Feeding the Doves: 31 short and very short stories, and haibun
Available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de and Kindle
Patty Apostolides on Amazon.com:

“Lyrical and Concise”: “…well written and full of beautiful, touching, and sometimes haunting, melodic stories.”

Read the review by author of Greek Novels Patty Apostolides here 
*
Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk:

“Feedings the Doves = feeding the soul”: “This is a wonderful, evocative book, rich in imagery…”

The review by author and psychotherapist  Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk
*
Katie Low in Sabotage Reviews:

“…characters recall how that sad event shaped their own histories, but the tone is one of hopefulness, of looking to the future and making the best of situations that will always be imperfect.”
“This sparseness extends to the stories individually, which do not waste their limited word-count on scene-setting or extraneous characterisation; each one evokes a mood, makes a point, or charts a phase in an individual’s development without telling us anything more than we need to know.“

Read the whole of what Katie Low has to say here
*
Marjory McGinn on Amazon.co.uk:

“Stunning insight into the Greek experience”
“… each story is poet gem, offering … moments of revelation and introspection”

Read the whole of Marjory McGinn’s review here
Marjory McGinn is the author of “Things Can only Get Feta
*
Blogcritics: Daniel Burton:

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”
“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”
“…references to Greece and its geography and culture, ancient and modern, pepper Pieride’s stories. It’s a wonderful setting for her flash fiction, and I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.
“Each feels like an intimate glimpse into someone’s life, a brief moment in time. And given that each is so quick, so fast, and yet so personal, it’s saying something that Pieride is able to levy language to create this impact in such sort space.”

*
Neos Kosmos Review (Australia’s leading Greek community news source) by Helen Velissaris:

“These stories manage to show universal themes entwined with the Greek psyche to give a new perspective on the Greece in the media’s headlines.
Above all, these stories show Greece isn’t defined by its current bank account, but rather the people that inhabit it.”

*
Mia Avramut‘s review on Amazon.co.uk:

“From a symbol of the divine (“A Life-Changing Story), to an object of meditation and near-worship in Syntagma Square (as in the title story), to their possible end in a soup kitchen destined to feed hungry children (“Pigeons”), doves’ journey functions as a counterpoint to the human sacrifice and quest for nourishing truths. Several glimpses into silent, sometimes tortured lives, end in haiku. It serves to deepen the reader’s understanding, and add new dimensions to the prose. And it’s a treat, as Pierides is both an archeologist of experiences, and a mistress of haibun.
Since Yourcenar and Kazantzakis, nobody has illuminated with such wisdom and compassion the often unseen lives that make the humanity what it is: a traveling, travailing organism with feet of myth.”
.

Mia Avramut is a Romanian-born writer, physician, researcher, and poetry editor at Connotation Press.
***
About
Having left Greece in her youth, Stella Pierides, the author of “Feeding the Doves”, returns to the country of her birth through a collection of stories that lie at the heart of Greek identity.
About the Book:
Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Recently, the headlines have been gloomy and negative, the country facing some of its most difficult years. Against this background, “Feeding the Doves” explores recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history, culture, and environment.
The widow, the old loner, the refugee, the immigrant, the young, the writer, the expatriate, tell us their stories, touching upon themes at the heart of Greek being: Love and loss, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history and catastrophe, and above all, the will to survive.

“What I admire here are the shining moments of revelation, of truths large and small bursting through the lives and memories of these characters. So many characters, and so rich!”
—John Wentworth Chapin
Founding Editor, 52|250 and A Baker’s Dozen

“Stories to surprise and entertain, to wake and calm, to wrench and elate, to tell the Greek story, past and present, and everyone’s story.”
-—Michael Dylan Welch, poet, writer,
and editor/publisher of Press Here books
*
Fruit Dove Press
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com

http://www.fruitdovepress.com

Perfect softbound
87 pages, 90gm cream interior paper
Full-color laminated cover
129 mm x 198 mm trim size

ISBN: 978-3-944155-03-6

Price: £8.00 UK and EUR 9,00

Available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

Dec 162013
 

 

Feeding the Doves

Feeding the Doves

 

 

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”

“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”

“… I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.”

Read the whole review here: Attack of the Books! 

The review is also available on Amazon.com 

 

Nov 272013
 

An article about my book of short stories “Feeding the Doves“ appeared today in the Australian newspaper “Neos Kosmos,” Australia’s leading Greek community news source. I am thrilled, as many of its readers are of Greek descent, and know, remember, or wish to know about the themes of this book.

Helen Velissaris writes: “These stories manage to show universal themes entwined with the Greek psyche to give a new perspective on the Greece in the media’s headlines.

Above all, these stories show Greece isn’t defined by its current bank account, but rather the people that inhabit it.”

Read the whole article here. A very interesting take on my book.

.

Oct 232013
 
BeFunky_Ve Chains.jpg

Amnesty International’s Livewire blog features the blog post I wrote for Blog Action Day 2013, “Human Rights and Wrongs”. One of their three favourite blogs, it can be seen by clicking here

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.” Read more about Amnesty’s work here

Oct 162013
 
BeFunky_Ve Chains.jpg

Every year, thousands of people try to enter Europe without permission. The last two years the numbers have increased. War, civil war, terrorism, famine, drought make their livelihoods untenable, their lives precarious. One of the major routes to the continent used to be via Evros, the river boundary between Greece and Turkey. Since 2012, however, when a fence was erected to block this entry point and after Frontex police increased their presence, new routes were followed: sea routes to Italy and Spain that are even more dangerous and deadly.

BeFunky_keeping out.jpgThe rickety boats these refugees use to come in often sink; the borders they try to cross get more hazardous than the journeys. The European countries they enter, ignore or criminalize them, and often send them to holding centers where they are subjected to demeaning, abusive situations, torture, or worse; or sent back to the countries they fled from. And yet, they keep coming.

I saw some of those who made it. In Venice, Italy, without support, they bend down hiding their faces, and beg.

city of masks
the beggar hides
her face
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They hide and live in fear, yet they find this preferable to staying in countries where torture or death awaits them. Unlike those chosen to enter in one of the rare legal, though miniscule, programs of some European countries, these people exist in dire and life-threatening circumstances.

promising the earth
lone star
.
This odyssey is acted out all over the world, sometimes by people seeking work to improve their situation in places where they would not normally be entitled to work; most often by people fleeing conflict and persecution. In the Mediterranean countries, the recent conflicts have multiplied the magnitude of this problem.

Lately, hundreds of people arrived in Lampedusa and the Italian shores:* alive or dead, they reached this other country where those who survived the journey would have at least the opportunity to fight for a chance of a better life. Wouldn’t you too, in their position?
BeFunky_Ve Chains.jpg
Wouldn’t you? If chance or circumstance placed you in such a predicament? The European Union, though, would not look favorably on your efforts to enter its borders with need and despair as the only passport. For instance, while the talk of new urgent measures is all about increasing funding towards detection of people in flight, as well as (allegedly) improved rescue at sea,* there is also the urge to repatriate and keep the refugees in the place they come from. An out of sight out of mind approach. Except that the situation in their home contries is so desperate that repatriated people try crossing the sea again, and again.
.

.
promising sign?
clouds part
for hunter’s moon
.

A lot more is needed for the nations that make up Europe to acknowledge and accept the plight of the people affected by extreme poverty and poverty-driven wars, often the result of our aggressive policies, economic exploitation, and environmental abuse.

Out of this awareness, the Europeans themselves would be able to develop better policies than this drive to isolate, separate, and remove the perceived problem: a concerted European asylum seeker and immigration policy, grounded on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (and the full United Nations Charter), with a budget and facilities for care and integration (rather than just border control) to back it up.

BeFunky_flower colours.jpgThe first models to help us think and plan are already here: A tiny Italian village opened its doors to migrants who braved the sea offering them jobs and homes, creating in the process jobs for the entire village. Even though there is no ideal solution, and new problems arise in new situations, the will, the means, the examples, the aspiration are already here.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

- This post is written for Blog Action Day, 2013 on 16 October 2013. Bloggers from different countries, languages, and interests will have a global conversation about Human Rights. I have published elsewhere a number of stories featuring refugees and their plight – including stories from refugees crossing the Aegean in 1922 – some of which are included in my short story collection: Feeding the Doves, Neusaess, Fruit Dove Press, 2013.

.
*Gazmend Kapplani, Albanian-born journalist, poet, and writer, in one of his FB posts suggests the least the EU could do would be to erect a Monument of the Unknown Refugee. Kapplani’s excellent book, A Short Border Handbook, relates the experiences of Albanian people crossing the border to Greece.

.
**Frontex, the European Agency for external border control, according to a statement of its site, “promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter applying the concept of Integrated Border Management.” Unfortunately, what this comes down to is that the management of borders takes precedence over human rights.

Frontex has expanded the number of countries where it can send the people it ‘rescues’. “Nobody, however, is monitoring what exactly Frontex is doing in these countries of transit and origin with the goal of “stemming migration”. There is a serious risk of human rights simply being breached or refugees dying in places that are farther away from our attention.”

.

See also Spiegel online
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Oct 102013
 

Good news first: Three reviews of my “Feeding the Doves” are now up on Goodreads! They can be viewed by clicking and scrolling down here (though you need to sign in to see them all).  A big thank you to the readers who took the time to read and comment.

Pigeons on the bridgesmall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bad news? I tried configuring the Goodreads Reviews button for my website and failed! The button would show the latest reviews as they appear on the right of this page. Instead, in that space, I only managed to include the Goodreads URL!

Sep 252013
 
FeedingtheDoves.jpg

The GoodReads giveaway has ended. I’m delighted that 608 readers entered to win a copy of my short story book “Feeding the Doves”! Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

My heartfelt congratulations to the 12 winners! You can see the winners here. I will be posting copies of the book on the 26th of September.

And to everyone else: Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway. If you did not win this time, please know there will be another giveaway in a couple of months’ time. I hope you will try again.

I will keep you posted on other giveaways, discounts, and fun stuff. Meanwhile, if you are interested in Greece, its people and history, the economic and existential crisis it is going through, my Pinterest board “Feeding the Doves” is updated regularly with news, articles, photos, and other related material: click here

Sep 182013
 

October 16th is Blog Action Day, an annual online day of action when bloggers (actually anyone with a public platform) from all over the world blog on one particular theme: This year, on Human Rights

Human Rights Day, commemorating the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. This year, the blogging lot contributes from its own unique angle, its multitude of voices, and perspectives, an additional opportunity for observance of this most sacred of human achievements on the 16th of October.

 

Thanks to the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights, whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, origin, colour, religion, language, or other status, we can ‘rely’ on the international community to uphold dignity and justice for us.

Despite many accomplishments in the field of human rights, sadly, there are still huge challenges lying ahead. In the words of the UN,

“The world is still plagued with incidents of ethnic hatred and acts of genocide. People are still victims of xenophobic attitudes, are subjected to discrimination because of religion or gender and suffer from exclusion. Around the world, millions of people are still denied food, shelter, access to medical care, education and work, and too many live in extreme poverty. Their inherent humanity and dignity are not recognized.”

The way forward: “The future of human rights lies in our hands.”

I committed to posting a blog post on the day. It may or may not be a short story on one of the articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. We’ll see.

Starting to think about what my post/story could be about, I asked myself, and Google, my constant companion, the obvious question: How many articles does the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contain?

How many do I actually know of? Here is the Declaration if you are interested in checking this out yourself. It includes a simplified, plain English version. See how many you know, and weep!

There is a video about the Blog Action Day theme

as well as a Home page 

a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/blogactionday

and a Twitter account @blogactionday12

The United Nations Home Page for Human Rights here

Aug 072013
 

Feeding the Doves  Now available to order from amazon.co.uk, amazon.de and Kindle

FeedingtheDoves.jpg

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”

“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”

“… I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.”

Read Daniel Burton’s review here: Attack of the Books!

The review is also available on Amazon.com

***

Extract from Mia Avramut’s review on Amazon.co.uk:

“From a symbol of the divine (“A Life-Changing Story), to an object of meditation and near-worship in Syntagma Square (as in the title story), to their possible end in a soup kitchen destined to feed hungry children (“Pigeons”), doves’ journey functions as a counterpoint to the human sacrifice and quest for nourishing truths. Several glimpses into silent, sometimes tortured lives, end in haiku. It serves to deepen the reader’s understanding, and add new dimensions to the prose. And it’s a treat, as Pierides is both an archeologist of experiences, and a mistress of haibun.
Since Yourcenar and Kazantzakis, nobody has illuminated with such wisdom and compassion the often unseen lives that make the humanity what it is: a traveling, travailing organism with feet of myth.”

Mia Avramut is a Romanian- born writer, physician, researcher, and poetry editor at Connotation Press.

***

Having left Greece in her youth, the author of “Feeding the Doves” returns to the country of her birth through a collection of stories that lie at the heart of Greek identity.

About the Book: Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Recently, the headlines have been gloomy and negative, the country facing some of its most difficult years. Against this background, “Feeding the Doves” explores recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history, culture, and environment.

The widow, the old loner, the refugee, the immigrant, the young, the writer, the expatriate, tell us their stories, touching upon themes at the heart of Greek being: Love and loss, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history and catastrophe, and above all, the will to survive.

 “What I admire here are the shining moments of revelation, of truths large and small bursting through the lives and memories of these characters. So many characters, and so rich!”

—John Wentworth Chapin
Founding Editor, 52|250 and A Baker’s Dozen

“Stories to surprise and entertain, to wake and calm, to wrench and elate, to tell the Greek story, past and present, and everyone’s story.”

-—Michael Dylan Welch, poet, writer,
and editor/publisher of Press Here books

Fruit Dove Press

Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com

http://www.fruitdovepress.com

Perfect softbound
87 pages, 90gm cream interior paper
Full-color laminated cover
129 mm x 198 mm trim size

ISBN: 978-3-944155-03-6

Price: £8.00 UK

Available from August 2013 through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de.

.

Jul 252013
 
FeedingtheDoves.jpg

Forthcoming

Feeding the Doves
31 Short and Very Short Stories, and Haibun

Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Since ancient times, her  philosophers, historians, mathematicians, shipbuilders, traders, and artisans have been making the news – and, indeed, history. So, amidst the country’s most difficult  years in recent times, many people believe that they know Greece and the Greeks.

.
Against this backdrop, the stories – short and very short – collected in “Feeding the  Doves” explore recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history and environment. The widow, the old loner,  the refugee, the immigrant, the writer, the expatriate tell us their stories, touching  upon themes at the heart of Greek being, as well as our common humanity: love and l  loss, war, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history,  and above all, the will to survive.

 

Cover Design:
Rob Ward, Freelance Animator

Fruit Dove Press
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
.
[The title story “Feeding the Doves” and the cover image were inspired by a photo taken by Robert Geiss, titled “Feeding Doves” and posted on his (sadly, no longer active) blog “Daily Athens Photo.”]

Jan 152013
 

Rebetiko, the blues of the Greek refugees from Asia Minor, and of Turkey, is alive and well. A “Byzantine blend of the Turkish rhythms brought by the immigrant Greeks uprooted from their homes in Asia Minor with the contemporary Greek music of the twenties and thirties,” it can be heard Monday nights haunting the corridors and the JCR (Junior Common Room) of SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, in London. I went to listen to the Rebetiko band this week and was amazed at the quality of sound and soulful singing.

SOAS Rebetiko

SOAS Rebetiko

The band SOAS Rebetiko describe themselves as follows:

“The Famous SOAS Rebetiko Band plays Rebetiko music of Greece, a broad genre of urban songs and instrumental music which developed in and around the major port areas of Eastern Mediterranean – Smyrna/Izmir, Istanbul, Syros, Piraeus and Thessaloniki.” 

I listened to this music growing up in a community of first- and second-generation refugees from Asia Minor, in Athens, and hearing it being played again, reminded me of the depth of feeling expressed through it; through the songs of loss and mourning, but also resistance, survival and life affirmation sang by the refugees.

Nov 272012
 

First a confession! I haven’t read Fiona Robyn’s book “Small Kindnesses” yet! I am grateful to her, though, for inviting me to her blogsplash to write a blog post about small kindnesses.

When I look back I feel gratitude for many things towards many people, though their acts of kindness feel huge to me. Are we, perhaps, belittling an act of kindness by calling it small? On the other hand, wasn’t the offer of a lift a small kindness? Carrying a heavy shopping bag for someone? The present of a smile?

Trying to choose one such act to write about, I went through various options, letting my thoughts run this way and that, but they always led me to my childhood home and to my grandparents. Finally, I settled on the following:

My grandparents, originally refugees from Izmir (the earlier Smyrni), in Asia Minor, lived in one of the refugee quarters of Athens, in a house with an inner courtyard full of plants, fruit, and flowers. They never wasted an olive oil tin – they used these tins as pots for basil, hydrangeas, carnations, geraniums… Crammed in a small space, they had rooms for renting out, a stable with a couple of horses, and hens – all in what was then just outskirts of Athens, but is now very near its center. Though the set-up sounds idyllic, they had a hard time making ends meet, finding the resources to make a living in a city and country that had not been welcoming to the refugees from Asia Minor.

Small Kindnesses The eggs they had were produced by their hens, the grapes by their vines, the figs came from a huge fig tree. Everything they ate, drank, wore had to be looked after, grown or mended, cost them energy and all of the hours of their day. They wanted me to have a better life. Even though my granny couldn’t read, she wanted me to be able to read and write. She encouraged me and gave me the space to do my own thing – even when I went round the house pulling out her precious plants to ‘make’ my own garden, took the eggs for my dolls; or spent hours under the vines reading my books and daydreaming instead of helping out with the chores.

Was this kindness? It was love, for sure. Kindness too. She could have demanded my help in the household. Each single time she didn’t, each time she didn’t complain, but let me be, let me do my own thing without pressure, or guilt, she acted with kindness towards me. All these ‘small’ gestures, moments, day in, day out, amount to a huge act of kindness and generosity on her part.

An act of kindness doesn’t have to come from a stranger. We tend to forget the acts of kindness we receive and offer in our everyday lives and relationships, as if love allows us to take those we love for granted.

So there you have it. I spoke about my grandparents’ garden and their kind presence in my post about small kindnesses, the title of Fiona Robyn’s book, “Small Kindnesses,” which is also the background to my own book, “In the Garden of Absence.”  I hope Fiona will take kindly to this dual path. I know I will be reading her book “’Small Kindnesses‘ – a gentle mystery story with gardener Leonard, dog Pickles & a dash of Johnny Cash” over Christmas.

You can read it too! In fact, it is free to download from Kindle UK and US all day today. See Fiona’s blog with more information about it here

Sep 252010
 

How Time Dilates…

atomic clock

Atomic Clock USNO

I just read that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was shown to apply to altitude differences as small as 33 centimeters. Scientists at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, using the latest and most accurate atomic clocks, found that the higher you are above sea level, the faster time runs for you.

In addition, as Einstein had also suggested, the scientists found that travel through space influences clock speed. A stationary clock ticks slower than a moving one. So, if your clock is moving rather than stationary and, in addition, you live high up, then you might start thinking about botox, moving to sea-level, or buying a bungalow!
x

The time differences at these small distances are minuscule, but now measurable.
x

This demonstration of time dilation leads me on to another, though I believe related, track. Einstein conceived of his Relativity Theory more than one hundred years ago, and yet we are only now able to confirm its predictions on our, human level! Atomic theory, stating that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms, according to Wikipedia, “began as a philosophical concept in ancient Greece and India” and only entered scientific thinking in the early nineteenth century. Thus, “time” is also relative, depending on the prevailing culture, socio-political conditions, etc., when it comes to the interval between ideas being born and their progressing to proof and acceptance. Just think of the effect of certain periods of the Middle Ages on the progression of ideas!
x

Moving on to a more experiential level: In my forthcoming novel Alexandrias 40: In the Shade of the Lemon Tree, a little girl is obsessed with time. She fears changes of plan, the adults changing their mind, things happening unexpectedly – “Can you do that?” she wants to know. If you change your plans, then time becomes unpredictable. She keeps comparing the time on her watch with that of other family members, to reassure herself of the stability of her world. Like most of us, she confuses the subjective timeline of our lives, and its curves, ambits, u-turns and roundabouts, with the instrument of its measurement, her watch.
x

On the other hand, shrinking or speeding up time, for instance through time-lapse photography, can provide us with a new, marvelous perspective on the world. The BBC has a great video on this, “Timelapse: Speeding up life” Watch it; I added it to my previous post.
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For musings and poetry on Time, read Asian Cha’s Random musings on Time: “Pray, my dear, quoth my mother, have you not forgot to wind up the clock?” They claim their clock does not tick. Not even tock?
x

Perhaps this, the dilation of time, the arrhythmia of time, where the interval between “tick” and “tock” is unpredictable, or different to what our current understanding would lead us to expect, is a major, crucial point where the arts and the sciences intersect – where the subjective and objective meet. Let us stay with this thought for a minute. Stop all the clocks!