Dear friends as I keep getting questions about people who cant get my book. And I def want that all of you who want to are able to read it.. Here it goes:
“ It is not because I do not know my way. It is because I love you. And when we part we should know that. we should make it as a ritual. So that I know that a piece of me is going. And i kneed to know that.”
I know I owe an email to you. I started this email on the plane. And I will finish today as I am about to fly tomorrow to London.
Bear with me, I still make the same mistakes as usual.
So it starts…
Here I am again, on a plane. The first 4 hours I slept non stop. I was exhausted. For those of you who do not know I am flying to Switzerland to show my book in a sort of literary Salon.
Yes, that’s the news… I finally published a book!
Last year I started to write for a Magazine called Varal do Brasil, and while I was in Colombia they sent me an email inviting to join them in this literature salon in Geneva (May 1st-5th 2013)
I thought it was cool although I did not have any book to show. Once I came home I told my father and he said it was preposterous… especially because it was already the end of January, there was simply no time to write, edit and publish anything. “Think about next year”, he said.
My friend Claudia Alcantara, however, took the initiative and enrolled me in the Salon.
Claudia used to have a very normal job, and she disliked the curls in her hair, which is something very common in Brazil, some old traces of racism hard to die. She also disliked the way hairdressers worked the issue. So she decided to find out how the process was done. She ended up writing a manual to straighten hair and it started selling all over Brazil.
Hairdressers were impressed and started to ask her whether she also had some related products to sell? She didn’t. After a few emails with the same request, she decided to say yes.
She went around, studied some chemistry and invented a product based in the stuff that already existed, and she mixed chocolate into it.
Nowadays Claudia is the owner of a cosmetics brand called Cadiveu, and she sells her products for over 50 countries. Cadiveu has a brilliant website and you can read more about it here http://cadiveu.com/.
Claudia is someone who always believed in good ideas. She sold a product before it existed because she believed it could exist. She enrolled me in a literary salon to show a book in Geneva before I had a book.
And now I am in a plane with two suitcases filled with books.
It is called “Mosaic, the Path in Between”.
Mosaic, is the art of what is possible. Nowadays I even think of it as the art of the impossible.
This book is a call for a more human world. It contains many of the emails I wrote throughout these last years…. It contains 4 mains ideas… Al Naqbah ( the great disaster when Palestinians lost their homes, but here I expand it to the huge disaster that most of us do not know where wer come from), borders ( what are they for?), Inbetweeners ( the feeling of always being trapped between worlds), and a search for home.
It contains the voices that many that I encountered Thais, Moroccans, Israelis, Palestinians, Tibetans, Colombians, Braizlians and soo many others… to eventually reach the voices of my own family.
It is a treaty of love,…. that could not have been made in 2 months if people all over the world had not helped it take shape/
I owe special thanks to Andrey my Russian friend in Sweden for reading it, commenting it, and even helping edit it when we were all running out of time. Haiko Ballieux, my ex husband, my great friend from Holland who edited from the UK and the US, Eduardo Simantob who is Arabic and Jewish and Brazilian and who edited from Switzerland in all of his spare time, Andrew Tope, who is British who edited on a plane between the US and UK. Then I have to thank the people of the Design Gustavo Soares, who I know since my Uni time, who designed this book in Rio while we still edited. He did the design in his spare time, while worki full time and taking care of his 1 year old daughter, Thomaz Bondioli who is Brazlian/Portuguese and lives in Holland for making all maps and Illustrations. And Victor Mendes in Sao Paulo for making the files online so that we could be doing this all over the world.
The Maps are hand made. They represent my experience. Middle East map was particularly difficult for us to make. But once I was approved by a Palestinian and an Israeli I cried.
Then I must say that, the time was running so short that we had to ask other people from other fields to help us. Sabrina Rabelllo, brilliant composer, and who did Phd in physics at Kings College and Post Doc in Harward!, Henrique Sa Earp who did PhD mathematics in Imperial College and now is teacher at the univrersity of Campinas in Brasil. Marcello Sorrentino who did his Phd in anthropology at the LSE where I left mine Marcelo Fortaleza Flores who is an anthropologist and filmaker who lived in the AMazon for 6 years and had studied with Krishna Murti, taught me in the US, then at the Sorboonne. And Elizabeth Ings who is British and is a writer and whom I met meditating in Vipassana. Finally Marisa Silveira who is in the US, and is from RIo and did her Phd in Linguistics at UCL also edited parts of this book.
Then came the art…. Thomaz decided to make some amazing illustration to represent the tougher chapter. He asked me to tell him. I sent him a song I had composed and he made the illustrations of the chapter called Amit.
Then came Sandra….
Ok, Sandra came before. Sandra makes amazing Mosaic. And I asked her why she made Mosaic. And she told me she did them because she like doing art but was clumsy. She broke things. So she made a Mosaic. I told her that day, in the beach… that is beautiful. Mosaic is the art of what is possible. A celebration of that has been shattered but we make something beautiful with. That is how may book went from being in Betweeners to Mosaic…… Because it was a celebration of these in between things… the art of what is possible.
And so I asked Sandra whether she could send me a picture of a Mosaic. She did. We had one day. The resolution was wrong. And she told me she collected the pieces to that mosaic by the thames… pieces she imagined that had floated…. had a journey. We managed to get the resolution by Sunday ok. We had to delivered by Monday morning.
Actually I managed to convince Jacqueline the lady responsible for Varal to Brazil and for me being there now to allow me to bring the books with me so that we could get 2 extra days. Now we needed till monday morning.
Then my childhood friend whom I had not seen in decades came to visit and now as the very famous fashion designer Valerie Ciriades came for a visit. I asked her. Can you do me one drawing. She told me she no longer drew. She only did clothes. For when Jules? Tomorrow… And so I told her. Seat when you have time and read the part of the book mosaic of voices…about my family… which she knows well…. and if it comes you send it to me. It came… and to me it is how she sees me. It makes me happy because it is how I like to see myself today.. feminine, delicate and like music.
And then Monday we were all ready to send… and Gustavo had a doctors appointment….. and then Mounia wrote me to Congratulate me….Mounia Dadi in Morocco. The brilliant painter, and my dear friend
It was in her house that I first had my first ever epileptic attack. It was after seeing her art. Her whole following collection she later told me was inspired on what had happened to me. So as I was about to print the book on monday… It felt now.. it is ready it has to have Mounia’s painting
I asked her and she immediately said yes. and sent what she felt it represented me searching others. I sent an sms to Gustavo… Gu Don’t kill me… we need to put one more image. Can we please….??
Resolutions wrong, electricity down… all working magically for her painting finishing my book.
I knew it was then right!
It was over.
We sent at 4 monday to Fabio my Grpahic Producer, and also a great friend of my father…. and he told me He was uncertain we could have them before monday.. when I flew.
I suddenly wanted Sunday because I wanted to release my book, our book in Brasil… and it was all ready at 9 am saturday.
We released at the casa do Nucleo with Benjamim Taubking palying piano ( though he had to travel soon), and me telling the story ot the book. I won’t tell the story now. I am tired, I think I have said it all now.
I am on plane. I fly to finally deliver the book to Geneva. Just like Claudia believed one day it would happen.
The release was beautiful we made a mosaic…. a mosaic that features pieces put by my 88 year old grandmother and my 5 year old cousins of second degree. My dear dear dear friends were there. And now I fly. They all hugged me very strongly telling me staying 6 months away was too much.
It is true…. as I fly here.. I agree… I ll miss them too much. That is thought when you have finally made home inside. Then you can realise all the homes you had all over. All the love you have to all and you feel this uncontrollable desire to go there… and give one more hug, an now, our book…. which all of them feature,
So that I wrote on the plane. Here I met Edu my main editor. Who told me, we need to edit proper now, and then we would release online on amazon. I cried. I felt my book was not good. I still went to the fair. edu explain to me over and over the book was good. But it had to be edited by one person thoroughly. He read my my whole book. And we are doing that.
He drove to fair. And I met amazing people. There was so much. So many people I felt so tired. ALl the tlack of sleep suddenly appeared. And I made a new friend. Nairubia and indigenous gril from a tribe called Iny in the island of Bananal. She put her hands in my lip. Closed them. She touched my face. She was there as the artist of the illustrations of the book. She was so special that I walk out.
She look into my eyes. Adns she said. He knew of your pain, dont ever let the light go away. Darkeness is just absence of light. She touched my face. Caressed my temples. She sang. And she said
“ I have nothing to teach you. You know. but one thing. dont get out of the litght anymore”
And then she gave me a profound gift. She told me people like me make her want to live. It imediatelly came to me the conversation I had with an anthropologist who told me the indigenous were different. I looked into her eyes. And I knew what I preached in my whole book was truly real. That day I felt… I don’t know indigenous people. As Nairubia touched my faced. Released the tension from my eyes. I knew compassion exactly the same anywhere is always [present. I cried.
I asked her whether she wanted me to take her back to the place where authors were and she said yes.
“ It is not because I do not know my way. It because I love you. And when we part we should know that. we should make it as a ritual. as if a piece of me is going. And i kneed to know that.”
I knew fully what she meant. I walked with her. we toasted with juice. We hugged. and I felt in place.
Then I cam home. The house of the travelling family you will read about. I met them on the road. Seing them again was like a part of me was being made put back. They cooked for me, they hugged me. We remembered all that once was. I am happy.
Edu took care of me for all the time he could. They take care of me now, and tomorrow I fly to London.
It is all good in this side of the world. And it will always be good wherever I am because I am in place.