Mileva Anastasiadou, whose story ‘The Paralysing Fear of Ending up a Side Character’ is published in issue 5 of Lucent Dreaming, is a neurologist, from Athens, Greece. Her work can be found in many journals, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry fiction, the Sunlight Press (Best Small Fictions 2019 nominee), Ghost Parachute, Gone Lawn, Ellipsis Zine, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Bending Genres and others.
So, what inspired your piece ‘The Paralysing Fear of Ending up a Side Character in Your Own Story’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?
I enjoy working with prompts, so the story was inspired by the prompt Lucent Dreaming provided, which was “lead” for issue 5. This piece was specifically written for Lucent Dreaming, which makes me really happy to have it published in the journal I wrote it for.
As a neurologist, I often deal with patients suffering from dementia, I’ve watched them try to explain reality, the slow and painful disappearance of memories and I can only imagine the terror when your life is ‘erased’ little by little. The loss of a loved one is considered a well-known trigger for developing dementia – I’ve watched that happen often – and it’s really fascinating, so I’ve always wondered whether that’s a coping mechanism to deal with loss.
What does writing and art mean to you?
I think writing is a liberating act. It helps put things in perspective and understand reality. It puts things under the microscope and examines them over and over until they make sense somehow, so that life is not only lived but also examined. It seems that life only lived is meaningless. It’s an exploration of the human condition, of ideas, of reality as it is, was and as it could be. It’s like trying filters on reality, or a way to put things in order and make sense of the world, or exploring stereotypes and dismantling them at the same time. In that sense, writing (and art) is also a political act.
What are you most excited about right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
I’ll soon be working at a creative writing workshop which is organized by an indie publishing house in Greece, which has also published my first book some years ago and also organizes international contest for short stories and books with amazing prizes (you can check them out at www.paraxenesmeres.com) and I’m excited about it as this is a thing I have never done before. I also work on my novel in Greek and am in the process of writing or editing many short stories, mostly in English.
Tell us about some of your favourite books or art you’ve experienced – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?
I’ve always claimed that “The Catcher in the Rye” is my favourite book. I read it at the right age, when I was sixteen and it changed my life. Holden Caulfield in an anti-hero I could relate to at the time, as “corny” and “phony” became my favorite words, because that’s how I saw the adult world I was about to be a member of.
Albert Camus has also been a favorite author, philosopher and human being, since I remember myself, because of the “Stranger” and the “Myth of Sisyphus”, but this summer I reread the “Plague”, I’d read it when I was too young to properly appreciate it, and I consider it a masterpiece, I think it should be taught in schools, considering the condition our world has been into lately. It’s an allegory for all epidemics of ‘plague’ the world has ever dealt with, or will deal with in the future.
What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?
I’m not really an expert but I’d say, go for it. If you feel there’s something you want to say, say it. Be bold, find your voice, do your thing. Always look for advice and feedback on your work and trust your gut about it. Embrace rejection, rejection pushes you forward. And read as much as you can.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
I share most of my work on social media. You can find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/milavaanastasiadou) , Twitter (@happymil_) and Instagram (@happilander)