Friday, September 2, 2011

Letter from Naxos

Afternoon in a Greek Cafe
Charcoal on Newsprint, 1976

Journal Excerpt - May 1976

Last night there was a shadow on the lower right side of the moon. I had never seen that before. Was it that way in California? It is so beautiful here on this island. I like it much better than Mykonos. Not so "jetsetty". I feel like I'm in the 'real' Greece here. A few tourists - but not so many. I'm hoping to get a chance to go out in a fishing boat and watch how they work with the nets. I love the fishing boats - they're so colorful.
Right now I'm reading Zorba the Greek by Kazantzakis. I've only just started it but its quite good. I've heard of him before but never read anything by him. He's excellent. Also - since we may be going to Crete its a good book to get me interested in that particular island. Did you ever see the movie? If you are reading any books you think I'd like please tell me and I'll do the same. I just went to look for Fruits of the Earth by Andre Gide that I told you about before and realized I traded it in for Zorba...

Anyway, there were some good poems in Gide's book that I wanted to quote. Oh well, I'll make up my own short poem on impulse...

The moon is a lady
     all dressed in white
her lover, the sun,
     who hides from the night
Oh, how shall they meet
     should this go on?
When each has a different
     concept of dawn?

For some reason I can't stop writing. Oh! I know what I was going to tell you. Old men. You'd love watching them - the way they sit around in these funky old cafes and play cards, drink retsina, and gossip. They're great - so much character. I wish I could get more 'people pictures' but I feel sort of strange going right up to someone and sticking a camera in their face.

Life is so cheap here, I don't believe it. Our room is only $1.50 a night and we pay the same for a good meal of fish, salad, and wine. I could see living on an island like this for awhile but I'm too curious about what's around the next corner.

Today we took a paddle boat out into the water. You know, the kind that you steer with your feet? It was so much fun - great exercise!