Writer and teacher Vana Manasiadis answers our 5 quick questions. She’ll be taking a workshop on writing and walking at the 2019 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat.
1. Tell us more about walking and writing. Is this your main writing practice?
Walking and writing are ancient friends. Even when we’re not actively finding a spot to write something down during walking or wandering, I’d like to think that writers and other creative arts practitioners observe, think and process when out in the world. So yes, I would say it is a main writing practice for me.
2. You mention walking and writing as offering new possibilities for collaboration in what can often be a solitary profession. How do you bring collaborative processes into your writing practice?
Again I see walking and being in the world as a collaborative experience by default. Scientists and philosophers are no longer talking about single organic entities, human beings are being described as compound entities that are in fact made up of other life-forms for example bacteria. Victorian boundaries are finally shifting back to encompass ideas long held by many non western cultures, of all being and creative practice as being collaborative, symbiotic and with fluid borders. Listening, reading, seeing, and actively interacting with others, are all collaborative practices that take place during walking and writing.
3. As well as being a writer, you’re a translator between Greek and English. How do you think that bilingualism has affected your writing and teaching?
Movement between languages and linguistic or poetic forms is humbling. There is no one right, genius meaning or concept. And openness to possibility, alternatives and to surrender are crucial in translation. It is possible to inhabit two or many realities at once, and to interrogate the rule book and to listen.
4. Do you tend towards one language or another when you write?
I would say that different languages inhabit different spaces concurrently, and that my understanding of English as a second generation Greek person is different to a Pākehā New Zealander’s who may have grown up in Aotearoa/New Zealand speaking English as their native and perhaps only tongue. My English is a Greek-English hybrid at best – even when it doesn’t look like it. The Greek is always informing its production.
5. Can you tell us a little about what participants should expect from your workshop?
Walking and talking and writing and being in, and responding to, space and spaces. People should wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat, and carry a cushion of they’d like to sit on it when we stop!