“Travel” vs. “Wandering”

“The word “travel” comes from the Old French word “travail” (or “travailler”), which means “to work, to labor; a suffering or painful effort, an arduous journey, a tormenting experience.” (“Travel,” thus, is “a painful and laborious journey”). Whereas “to wander” comes from the West Germanic word “wandran,” which simply means “to roam about.” There is no labor or torment in “wandering.” There is only “roaming.” Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both “at one with” and “separate from” the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.”   – Roman Payne, The Love of Europa

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INVOCATION TO THE SEVEN MUSES

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From the sands of the Sahara, I, your dear friend, Roman Payne, send you this announcement: “You are” or “are going to be” one of the seven Muses for my novel in progress: The Saharan Soliloquy.  (I shall refer to you collectively from time to time as, “The Seven Charites” for those of you familiar with “The Three Charites” (or “Graces” of Greek mythology).

Four of you seven belong to the fair sex, and three to the… sex that is… unfair?—so be it!  The first Muse of the unfair people is the fairest man I know (both in giving and generosity, and in stately appearance [as he is a descendant of the poetess Sappho, and there is much evidence that states that he is the reincarnation of Achilles who helped sack the ancient citadel of Troy]).  His name is Pietros Maneos.  He is a distinguished poet and his kleos already reaches to Heaven.

The second of the less than fair sex is my best friend in the world—has been for the last 18 years.  (Let me see, I am 39, about to turn 40, and he and met when I was 21, on Belmont Street in Seattle.  I was in transit, having just spent a while living in New Orleans, at Bourbon Street and Ursulines, where I’d travelled with my twelve-string and the ambition to become the next Leonard Cohen, my hero; a man who happened to die just one week ago (that is, a week before I write this)—although, since he lived to be 82, the tears in my eyes right now are of joy and nostalgia; they are for my Seven Muses.

Mich Poe and I met on Belmont Street where he spent his hours in a depressive state, popping Zoloft and playing Mozart on his upright piano.  I had the good fortune to share a wall with his piano, and he and I got to talking; and we agreed to go down to Pike’s Place Market to each drink “one dry Martini.”

Three days later, we finished our respective five-gallon martinis, in a bar whose bathroom we used to insufflate all the Latin American amphetamines that I’d smuggled back with me across the Mexican border; the pills bulging through a hacky-sack that I had nested in my crotch as a third testicle.

Mich Poe and I were forever friends after those three days, which also cured him for a long time of his depression.  I didn’t know then that in less than one year, the ‘Black Beast’ of depression, would come to sit on the edge of my bed and haunt me there for many years to come;  Mich and I being newly inseparable, I flew out to New York, and he followed behind on an Amtrak train; and while I was living the bourgeois Manhattan-delivery-life, he was screwing two French sisters who visited him at his makeshift home on the rooftop of my apartment house at 284 Mott Street, in SoHo, due north of Chinatown.  Mich would come down to visit me from time to time, smoke his weed, and try to convince me that the short stories I was writing were better than my song compositions.  Mich Poe first planted the idea of me being a novelist, and then my fate was sealed as a novelist when the tip of my picking hand was torn off in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris two years later.  It is almost exclusively to Mich Poe alone that I speak my “soliloquies,” my chapters, my “Arabesques”; because he is the one person on earth I feel free to say absolutely anything to… no matter which language I speak in, and no matter if my admission reveals une faiblesse[1] of my character—for both he and I revel in sharing defects of our characters, and miswirings and misfirings on our brain organs and other tchotchkes.

Now for the last muse of mine who carries more body-hair and testosterone than pleases my eye, is my best friend east of America; he lives in my city: Marrakech.  He lives in my Riad He is, like me, an artistocrat in Morocco, for his blood is Egyptian and his extebded family commissioned the Pyramids.  This brother of mine, whom I call “Sandman” (for the reason that he is an artist in the medium of colored sand; and also because, like a proper Sandman, whenever he comes to my home, he “brings me a dream.”  I will not dwell too much on Sandman’s virtues, because he plays an important role in the novel that follows and you shall learn plenty of his personality.

I am relieved to begin talking of the beautiful sex:  creatures whose soft arms contain just a dew of newborn hairs, soft as silk; and who resist testosterone injections, as they are already high on Estrogen—a drug that infuses them with poetic madness, dramatic insanity, and the sexiest form of mind-manipulation found among sentient beings.

The first beautiful Muse is she I have known the longest: louis Lunderburg of Sweden, who I first saw by peering at her from between my legs.  Sounds odd? …You see, it was a yoga class and the pose: “chien la tête en bas” I found is an excellent way to find new students. I saw her wonderfully tall body, and her emaciated limbs which were very attractive because they made me curious.

In short, I went to speak with her, yet given the circumstances of our meeting, I disobeyed all of my masculine urges and rules for advancement, and behaved during each of our rendezvous like a perfect gentleman.  And Louise was the perfect lady: sophisticated, cultured, and extremely intelligent.  She eventually moved back to Sweden and I too had left Paris after 15 years living there; but Louise and I remained in contact, and she wrote to me recently, “Now that you the lord of Marrakech, Roman, please message me all about your life there.”

“My dear!” I responded, “I would have to write a whole novel to do my experiences justice.”  Thus the idea for The Saharan Soliloquy was born, thanks                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      to Louise of Sweden.

Actually, of my four feminine muses, only one is not Swedish.  The three others:  Olivia, Charlotte, and Louis, are from the country of Ingmar Bergman—I don’t know if is coincidence or if they put something in the water supply to make young girls grow up to become literary Muses…?

I would especially love it if the UK-based artists Tara Lee, Taralee.music@gmail.com, and Charlotte Eriksson, theglasschildmusic@gmail.com would attempt some correspondence.  Dear Charlotte: Tara Lee (SoundCloud Profile) is a musician like you are, and like I was (except she has a sexier voice than I do).  She is also a renown actress, she’s been in movies, on the television, she is very accomplished.  Dear Tara: Charlotte Eriksson is musician, singer, and performer like you.  She is also a poet and novelist like me, and novelist, and it was her novel: Empty Roads & Broken Bottles that introduced me to her.  Charlotte’s novel about an 18-year-old wanderess from Sweden vagabonding penniless around the UK—just her guitar case and her sack: a pen and a notebook where she balanced her time-sensitive schedule for a rockstar’s five-year plan with her anti-time, anti-schedule maxims and Zen approaches for living in the moment, was less a novel than it was a dissociative hallucinogen; Charlotte’s book turned my imagination into a frenzy as I wondered whether I were the main character or not;

The short-term sensation was euphoric.  But the lasting effect of her book was to clear my life of the hundreds of empty roads and broken bottles and reawaken me to literature—for, although 95% of my income came then, as it comes now, in the form of royalty checks for my 2013 novel, The Wanderess, I was completely dead to literature and avoided writing at all costs.  It was a dangerous, self-destructive phase partially provoked by modernity’s weak and hopeless “attempt” at producing worthy literature.   (Anyway, thanks to you Seven Muses, I am writing again.)

Charlotte Eriksson now figures as one of the four modern novelists whose books I read with pleasure.

Tara Lee is my musical Muse.  She transports me with her voice and her guitar; and if that weren’t enough, Tara has this unbelievable talent for writing me letters that hypnotize me, and get me to do whatever she wishes, will, or pleases.

The last to be mentioned is probably the most important, Olivia, as she has the ability to supply me with a steady supply of blood, food, and water.  My other six Muses can inspire with intellectual nourishment.  And Tara’s letters, though they don’t come often at all, have this passion in them that keeps me awake all night long.  Yet one can live without intellectual nourishment, and one hates to live without insomniac passion; but one simply cannot live if one’s veins are dried-up of blood, and if one has not a sip of water or a bite of food to eat.  No… I could not… and I would not want to write this next novel without Olivia in my life.

 

 

[1] UNE FAIBLESSE :  (Fr) « a weakness. » “…There are times when I use French expressions and words because the English terms are escaping my memory and I don’t wanr want to interrupt his writing flow;

THE WINE OF A WOMAN (by Roman Payne)

 

She came to my bed
and begged me with sighs
not to tempt her towards passion
nor actions unwise.

.

I told her I’d spare her
and kissed her closed eyes,
then unbraided her body
of its clothing disguise

.

While our bodies were nude
bathed in candlelight fine
I devoured her mouth,
tender lips divine;
and I drank through her thighs
her feminine wine.

.

Ô, the wine of a woman
from heaven is sent,
more perfect than all
that a man can invent.

.

– Roman Payne (October, 2016, Marrakech)

Payne’s “The Wanderess” Makes Headlines in Billboard Magazine

My poetry and my novel “The Wanderess” has made the news in Billboard Magazine 🙂 …The world-famous pop-star, Halsey (a young singer who read and was inspired by “The Wanderess” before she became famous last year) She was inspired to the point that she said to the press that she developed the qualities that made her famous because of my writing). Halsey based her song “Hurricane” (with its Exclusive Premiere promoted here on Billboard Magazine) on my book, “The Wanderess.”

I just read: One of her new songs is currently #1 on the “top 10 songs and albums on the iTunes Store.” Not bad😉

(Click here for the Billboard page)

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Eudaimonia: “Flourishing” Adults Live Flourishing Lives

A treatise in favor of “mind and body” arts, antidepressant medications, psychotropic drugs, and scientific procedures to alter the human mind and change consciousness; as well as an article in favor of religious practice (of any and all faiths)

By Roman Payne

Why do so many humans invest a considerable portion of their fortunes on, and are so appreciative of, the advancements in neuroscience?  It used to be assumed that the goal of neuroscientific studies were to cure dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and overall: to cheat death.  

In 2016, however, we no longer kid ourselves privately or publicly.  Today it is as acceptable to tell a stranger or a new acquaintance that you are on antidepressant drug or other psychotropic substances; or that you perform anything from yoga and meditation, to Catholic rituals or Muslim prayer.

Twenty-First Century literature, popular media in Western countries, and articles by learnéd scholars and the intelligentsia tend to agree that a fully-realized human being is someone who is not afraid to die. *

*Epicurus, for example, regarded “the unacknowledged fear of death and punishment as the primary cause of anxiety among human beings”; while Saint Augustine believed that “the fear of death makes a happy life impossible. […] The true, happy life,” Saint Augustine wrote, “requires immortality. The true life is one that is both everlasting and happy.”  Scholars and writers from Plato onward wrote similar doctrines.   Every man and woman may have “once have had” a fear of death.  In fact, “almost all” humans feared death during childhood, and many later on.  But those of us who live more or less: “contemplative lives”; those of us who devote part of each day to such activities as: introspection, self-improvement; philosophy, morality and religious practice, or the intake of pharmacological or natural psychotropic medicines, have either come to the point (and if they have not, they hopefully will, for such is the entire goal of everything from philosophy to magic to religion) where they are and can be considered “A fully-realized,” or a “flourishing,” adult.

A “flourishing” adult lives a “flourishing life”—(more specifically, a “eudaimonic” life).

(TO BE CONTINUED AFTER A FEW HOURS OF RESTFUL SLEEP)

Rough Draft of My New Novel: THE SAHARAN SOLILOQUY (or) THE ARABESQUE OF MOROCCO (by Roman Payne)

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.”

— Roman Payne

 

CHAPTER I

 

 Ô, Muse of Morocco, sing me my soliloquy so that I may tell my tale of your land.  For never did I experience a story so hallucinatory as when I embarked upon your sand.

Morocco is a “polytropolous” land, (completely topsy-turvy); it is a land where Reality is flipped upside down and painted multi-colored—living here is like being constantly high on a wonderfully happy hallucinogenic drug.  Due to the fact that I have been a wanderer—a stranger tossed among the continents—for the last twenty years, (I first began traveling at the age of nineteen and I expatriated to France when I was just a lad of twenty-one—now I am thirty-nine—from this, I have learned an important skill: how to maintain incredible strength and feed and grow the power to overcome all of life’s obstacles—no matter how drastic they are.  Twenty years of traveling has taught me to survive all culture shock, fits of panic, agoraphobia, and other disorders that originate from fear.  Yet this only applied to the most sophisticated cities in the world.  Coming from Paris—arguably the most elegant and polite metropolis on our planet—to a bustling city in Africa where the main square near my riad

 

 

 

 

Wanderess Fans and their Tattoos…

I am thankful for all of the photos I have received from women around the world who tattoo words from my books and poems, or simply inscribe the title of my novel The Wanderess anywhere from their breasts to their dimples of Venus; or on their wrists,  ankles, and toes.

 
A special ‘Thank You’ to this young woman (below) who sent me this testimony of her body’s permanent appreciation of my art. I only hope that she doesn’t grow to hate me before her skin withers from age and dies.

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…In any case, by tattooing my words on your delicate self, I am obliged to love you for your entire life, you realize… to answer all of your letters (though otherwise I almost never answer readers’ letters [simply because I am lazy]). Yet now, I am obliged, you understand, to treat you always with profound kindness, replying with courtesy to every message you send me. For I would never forgive myself if a woman started to hate one of her body parts because she found out just how selfish, idle and monstrous the author of her tattoo is in real life. So for you, My Loves, I will offer my eternal affection, and I will pretend that I am a good person – God forbid you should learn that my soul is dirty and I am only “slightly” better than the Devil.

Yours Forever,

Roman Payne

Morocco, 2016

 

COMMENTS FOR ROMAN PAYNE?  PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW:

 

LITERARY NOVEL ENCOURAGES YOUNG WOMEN TO TRAVEL ALONE: EXPLORING THE “GIRL’S” COMING-OF-AGE NOVEL

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“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

– Roman Payne (The Wanderess)

 

Very few novels are published with titles like: ‘The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.’ While writers of coming-of-age novels about young men have a well-worn, established path to follow in the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.” This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience—usually involving solitary travel—becomes a mature man who is successful in the world. Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel. A girl who has travelled alone has always risked experiencing social taboos—and still does, even in our “enlightened” 21st Century.

But a “girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of the story in Roman Payne’s new novel, The Wanderess, which was published this month (November 2013) chez Aesthete Press. The Wanderess—Payne coined the word “wanderess” as the feminine form of “wanderer”—tells the story of “Saskia,” who begins the novel as a girl, and finishes as a young woman. Upon the death of her family, she inherits an income which allows her complete independence throughout her teenage years. This income far from consoles her. As she doesn’t need to work, nor aspire to the ambitions her—no longer living—family expects of her, she must ask herself: “what we are alive for?”… Her temporary answer is to search for the best friend she had while at boarding school in London, who now could be anywhere in Europe.

Like any great novel, there is a great romance. It begins when Saskia’s life gets tangled with the life of an adventurer (Saul), whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune gets tangled with the quest of this “Wanderess” for her long-lost friend and her own fortune. From the back cover description: “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

Payne admits that writing this, his fifth novel, wasn’t easy: “I already wrote a novel of initiation [Cities and Countries] about a young man’s solitary travels, adventures, and his coming-of-age; but The Wanderess is my first book where the hero is female. I obviously have no life experience in that role, yet the women who have read the advanced copies are unanimously positive. They expressed their delight and say that Saskia is lovable, convincing, and a highly-successful character.

 

About the Author:   Roman Payne, born January 31, 1977 in Seattle, USA, is an American expatriate literary-fiction novelist. He left America in 1999 and currently lives in Paris. His novels are highly poetic, romantic and literary. They focus on the lives of dreamers and wanderers who travel (usually throughout Europe) looking for the meaning of their lives and of the world. You can meet him on Instagram at: @novelistromanpayne, join him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/novelistromanpayne, or follow his blog at: https://novelistromanpayne.wordpress.com.

 

Order a copy of “The Wanderess” through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wanderess-Roman-Payne/dp/098522813X. For more information about “The Wanderess,” visit the novel’s official website at: www.wanderess.com.

 

LITERATURE: “To Travel” vs. “To Wander” (GreatNovels.org Interviews Author, Roman Payne)

Republished from GreatNovels.org

“To wander is to be alive.”

– Roman Payne

The wanderer stops to take respite as he roams about.

The wanderer stops to take respite as he roams about.

“Wandering is the major theme of both my life and my work – and they are the same thing.”

– Roman Payne

On April 10th, 2015, William Sheller at GreatNovels.org asks Roman Payne:

“Mr. Payne, your new novel, The Love of Europa, was just partially published – that is, the first 13 chapters were released to give readers a taste for what to expect.  Do you intend to serial publish more of the book?  Or will the next release be the entire book?”

Roman Payne:  It will be the entire book, it should come out this summer.  I have to finish writing it first, though.

William Sheller:  It is an amazing beginning, I have to say.  Personally, I enjoyed reading those first 70 or so pages more than anything you’ve ever written.  I like it even more than The Wanderess, which some people believed would be your masterpiece, and perhaps your final work.

RP:  Did they think I would drop dead?  Or just take up watercolours instead of writing? …No, but I see what you mean.  I hesitated to start a book after writing The Wanderess because I was worried that I couldn’t outdo The Wanderess.  I thought that was the best writing I was capable of, and I didn’t want to make a slipshod performance to follow it.

WS:  Well The Love of Europa is anything but slipshod!  It is a beautiful story, beautifully written, and it will find a large market because it speaks primarily to “young women who love to travel.”  And there are a lot of young women who love to travel, and those who love to travel tend to have the time to read a lot.

RP:  Yes, well like all my books, it is written for the wanderers of the world.

WS:  That is something I wanted to ask you… your thoughts on travel vs. wandering.  May I print the first paragraph of The Love of Europa so people reading this can see what I’m talking about?

RP:  Be my guest.

WS:  You wrote: “She called herself Europa, and wandered the world from girlhood till death. She lived every kind of life and dreamt every kind of dream. She was wild in her wandering, a drop of free water. She believed only in her life and in her dreams. She called herself Europa, and her god was Beauty.”

RP:  Do you like it?

WS:  It’s excellent.  You are like a classical composer who reuses bits of his own melodies in multiple symphonies.  You take one of your quotes – one of your “wanderess” quotes, for example – and spin it into a new phrase, into a new literary quote, into a new poem.

RP:  If you hit on something you like, why not create variations on that theme?

WS:  Exactly.  But my question here is about your use of the word “wandering” and “wandered” (“she was wild in her wandering”)… doesn’t wandering mean, sort of, walking about aimlessly!

RP:  Not at all!   (He punches the table)

RP:  You know, “wandering” is the major theme of both my life and my work – and they are the same thing.  Let me find something in my manuscript for The Love of Europa that I wrote to explain this.  Somebody else asked me what “wandering” really means, and why I don’t use the word “travelling” instead.  And I’ll tell you why.  I wrote this to explain to that person why I use “wander” and not travel”; and then I thought, you know, a lot of people reading The Love of Europa are going to have this question, so I decided to include this paragraph in the book:

The word “travel” comes from the Old French word “travail” (or “travailler”), which means “to work, to labor; a suffering or painful effort, an arduous journey, a tormenting experience.” (“Travel,” thus, is “a painful and laborious journey”). Whereas “to wander” comes from the West Germanic “wandran,” which simply means “to roam about.” There is no labor or torment in “wandering.” There is only “roaming.” Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both at one with and separate from the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries, Dear Reader, are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.

The "eternal wanderer," Roman Payne, beneath the Parisian sky at the Jardin du Luxembourg (2014) | Photograph © Marta Szczesniak

The “eternal wanderer,” Roman Payne, beneath the Parisian sky at the Jardin du Luxembourg (2014) | Photograph © Marta Szczesniak

Get the first 13 chapters of The Love of Europa for Kindle right now… click here!

“A girl without braids is like a city without bridges.”

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“A girl without braids
is like a city without bridges.”

― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”

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“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”

― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

Literary Quote by Roman Payne: Woman at the Window

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“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city”

― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

Literary Quote for Spring: She Wakes in a Puddle of Sunlight

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“She wakes in a puddle of sunlight.
Her hands asleep beside her.
Her hair draped on the lawn
like a mantle of cloth.”
– Roman Payne

Opium and Wine: The Artist’s Masterpiece

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“The artist’s greatest creation began
the night he washed his
memory of his failures
rubbed opium on his lips
drank the wine
that women offered him
and lay down and wept.”

– Roman Payne

 

https://instagram.com/novelistromanpayne
           

Will Facebook Win the Next Nobel Prize for Literature? Will Wine Intoxication Ever Become Mandatory for Shepherds? …An Afternoon with Authors Pietros Maneos and Roman Payne.

(See the original interview at www.literaturemonthly.com)

They are both Americans, both highly-literary: Payne is the author of five novels that take place in Europe and follow the lives of itinerant dreamers who wander the world in search of adventure, meaning, and the “poetic life.”  Like his characters, Payne, 38, is an itinerant dreamer who lives in Paris, wanders in Europe, and devotes his time to “living the Homeric life,” and “inventing the next novel.”  Payne and Maneos are both published by Aesthete Press.

Above, Left: Roman Payne (Photo, copyright 2014: Marta Szczesniak, Photography) | Above, Right: Pietros Maneos. NOTE: SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE FOR FULL-SIZED PHOTOS OF THE AUTHORS.

Above, Left: Roman Payne (Photo, copyright 2014: Marta Szczesniak, Photography) | Above, Right: Pietros Maneos. NOTE: SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE FOR FULL-SIZED PHOTOS OF THE AUTHORS.

Maneos, 35, is no less a son of the divine Homer.  He seeks aesthetic perfection in all things: his life, his Ancient Greek body, and his literature, which, like Payne’s, marries Classicism and Romanticism.  Unlike other professional authors who seek the cliché in mid-life of some kind of professorship at a university, or a pay check in exchange for scholary pursuits in a library, Maneos chose a life that few have managed to live since the decline of the Ancient Roman aristocracy: he purchased 40-acres of Eden in North Carolina where he is constructing a vineyard to live his own version of a life like one of his heroes: the Roman literary-patron Gaius Maecenas.  “Bramabella” is the name that Maneos chose for his vineyard—a construction of two Italian words that, assembled, mean “yearning for beauty.”

The two authors and the editor Jean Sitori are sitting in the office of the newspaper Literature Monthly in Paris.  Jean is entranced as he watches Maneos stand and demonstrate how to properly hurl the discus. After a moment, Jean turns his attention to Payne…

JEAN SITORI:  Roman, speaking of hurling the discus, you just got back from Greece where you were living for about four months…  Are you happy to be back in France?  Were you writing well in Greece?

PAYNE:  I am always happy to be back in France—that is why I almost never leave France to begin with.  When I get tricked into leaving France, I almost always regret it afterwards.  I initially went to Greece this trip to research my next novel at a place on the beach just outside of Athens.  But the weather got bad, the sea turned cold and violent—fault of Poseidon!  I can deal with nasty weather.  But when the inspiration to write disappears, I lose my mind.  Here I was in Greece: the birthplace of the muses, and they had abandoned me.  I tried all the tricks to get literary inspiration back: yoga, running, hard alcohol, nothing worked.  My thoughts were so black that I became convinced that writing was something that was no longer a part of me at all.  Now, back in France, I suddenly feel like writing again; and my work is going well.

JS:  Are you reading at present?

PAYNE:  No.  When I am writing well, I do not read.  Reading takes valuable time away, and it puts another man’s or woman’s style in your head to mar your own.  What are you reading at present, Jean?

Jean makes a wholehearted laugh at this and says, “Let’s see… what am I reading these days?”  With that, he begins leafing through a copy of the woman’s magazine Grazia, which he said, had “mysteriously” appeared in his briefcase that day.  After scanning a blonde woman smoking a cigar for a moment, his eyes light up.  He’d found an article worth commenting on to his guests. Jean summarized the article…

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg told Grazia that he made it his 2015 New Year’s resolution to, quote, “read more literature,” and to finish a book every two weeks.  This resolution, he said, inspired him to make reading “chic” (we didn’t know that Zuckerberg had a magic wand for making things chic, but why not?!), so he has created a Facebook page called “A Year of Books.”  It currently has just over 350,000 likes.

JS:  Pietros, what do you think of Zuckerberg’ public display of affection for reading?

MANEOS:  Well, I think that it is noble of Mr. Zuckerberg to do so, especially as the head of a technology company, since society seems to be awhirl over technological platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and others, which has perhaps led to a decline in the written word. Not that there aren’t a plethora of authors flooding the marketplace, but it seems that modern man has lost the ability to sit quietly with a book for an extended period of time without succumbing to the lure of online ephemera’

JS: Some of the books Zuckerberg said he is reading are excellent titles.  Perhaps his publicist thought them up to make the Facebook founder seem complex and interesting, or perhaps he really is interesting.  Anyway, many of the titles delve into the Baroque, others into Romanticism, others into Ornate Gothic Style… since your own books are complex and ornate, and explore Baroque Romanticism, do you foresee that pop-culture is going to lean more in your direction and away from current trends, like Philip Roth ?

MANEOS:  Well, I think popular culture and literary culture are two disparate entities. With regard to popular culture, I think that it is enamored with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and other such works, no?

But now transitioning to literary culture, I don’t think that there has been much cultural shift from the irony, cynicism, and anti-aestheticism of the previous epoch. I still think that many writers and artists are busy declaiming ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’, while writing in short, spare, suburban sentences. I, of course, have rejected this trend for a Baroque aestheticism that one finds in personages like D’Annunzio and Kazantzakis. I embrace epithet, adjective, apposition and heightened musicality, which are despised by many moderns. So, I certainly consider myself part of a burgeoning counter-culture of To Kalon in modernity along with such movements in the visual arts such as Post-Contemporary.

JS: Pietros, just what is it about “Baroque aestheticism” that you embrace? And can you explain the term a little for our readers who have turned a blind eye to that phrase up until now?

MANEOS:   An example of Baroque aestheticism might be, ‘The light, soft and sensuous, brushed across the crest of the Brushy Mountain,’ where spare, suburban 20th century minimalism would simply say, ‘The light hit the Brushy Mountain.’

The great Matthew Arnold once noted, ”The instinct for beauty is served by Greek literature and art as it is served by no other literature and art,’ and I am striving to continue this Hellenic sensibility in the 21st century.

JS:  Pietros, when one reads your work; or talks to you personally, and listens to your music playlists, one feels that you are more Greek than any full-blood Greek currently alive in Athens, or in Sparta, or Macedonia… How come you didn’t start Bramabella in Greece instead of America? Or at least, why don’t you live six months of the year in North Carolina, and six months of the year in Greece?

MANEOS:   Well, although I am Greek by descent and sensibility as an ardent student of classical antiquity, I do not speak demotic Greek, so that alone would be a challenge. Additionally, Greece is suffering under dire economic conditions, so if I ventured there, I might end up starving to death, ha!

Also, similarly to the orator/philosopher Isocrates, I have always believed that Greece or rather Hellenism is not so much of a language, or a land-mass as it is a world-view, a philosophy, if you will. Figures like Oscar Wilde, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Paul Cartledge, John Boardman and many other Artist/Scholars are as Hellenic as any Greek whose last name happens to end in ‘os’ by happenstance. You too, my friend, are Hellenic even though you were born in America, and have elected to reside abroad.

Though, I must make a final confession to you – Traveling to Greece to raise a classicizing army to battle ISIL in Syria-Iraq does intrigue me, as it is perfumed with both Herakleanism and Byronism.

JS:  Pietros, our poor friend Roman is starting to daydream over there in his chair—one can tell because his eyes look like Lucy in the Heavens with Rhinestones—maybe he is bored because we are so interested in your work right now.   To ask you a question about Roman’s work… His first novel was a Parisian thriller in the Dostoevsky style. His second, Cities and Countries, was a Bildungsroman set in an imaginary world.  His third was a tragic love story.  His fourth was a diary of seducing women in Paris—everyone from impoverished seamstresses without breeding and a ripe age that can be counted on three hands, to blue-blooded countesses cheating on their husbands.  Then his fifth novel, “The Wanderess,” well that is more hard to define.  The question is… you, Pietros, are a literary scholar and, if I may flatter you by saying: a literary visionary.  What do you think Roman’s sixth novel will be about?  What do you think it “should” be about?

MANEOS:  Roman is a great genius, and I think that for Rooftop Soliloquy and The Wanderess he should be considered for the Nobel Prize, but to speak of your question, I think that he should continue in the Heroic and Aesthetic vein. Perhaps, since he is descended from the ‘Chian Nightingale’ – Homer – in such a pronounced way, he could write a Modern Odyssey akin to what Kazantzakis attempted.

JS: You make the distinction between two phrases: ‘The light hit the Brushy Mountain,’ and one that I believe you appreciate more: ‘The light, soft and sensuous, brushed across the crest of the Brushy Mountain.’ …Mark Zuckerberg would probably claim to agree with your tastes. Do you think this is an anomaly—the preference of a well-educated billionaire matching the preference of a Homeric poet who is most likely a descendant of the immortal poet Sappho ? Or do you think that we may be entering a new literary age—a time when people are, frankly, sick and tired of “spare, suburban, 20th Century minimalism?”

MANEOS:  Well, I am not sure about a new literary age, but one can only hope! I think that my kinship with figures like Roman Payne, Tomasz Rut, Michael Newberry, Sabin Howard, Graydon Parrish, Michael Imber and others is indicative of a cultural paradigm shift. I am always hesitant to use the term ‘movement’ – but – there is certainly a shared sense of aesthetic values.  And one of my aims is to have Bramabella stand as an expression of this aesthetic.

JS to PAYNE: Pietros Maneos is a poet, novella scribe, and satirist… he is a writer of many styles, many genres. What is your favorite genre of his at present?

PAYNE:   Maneos has arrived at a sacred mastery of certain literary forms (I am not fond of the word “genre”).  I would say, these “sacred forms” are my favorites of his, since no one does them better than he does.  The forms that come to my mind first is what I would call his “Bramabella Pastorales.”  In these poems, Maneos is able paint a landscape like Renoir or Monet, construct a exquisite virgin like John Williams Waterhouse, sing of the youthful love of a troubadour, or the old man’s lament of a Cavafy poem.  He can prepare the body to fight like a Homeric hero, fall to tears like a Nocturne of Chopin.  They are all that is life: his Bramabella poems are the laments of a poet intoxicated with wine, and the joys of a madman sipping the sweet fumes of the poppy.

JS:  And what is the literary style that you would like to see Maneos work on next?

PAYNE:   I would love to see him write a 200 page “roman d’amour” in the French tradition… an old style novel about a couple’s first love, and their last.

JS:  (To the readers)… This concludes our all-too-short interview, but we at Literature Monthly hope to have Maneos and Payne with us again soon!

 

Excerpt from Europa (A Woman Sleeping)

exerpt-Europa

The way the novelist watched a woman as she lay in his bed in the morning light, her naked legs covered only by a thin sheet, the way her legs would tremble… softly shaking, softly quivering… The novelist would observe her legs half-naked, half-covered by a cotton sheet; and as they quivered he would liken them to the strings of a well-strung classical guitar played by a master musician. Each shudder of her legs beneath the sheet was the vibration of the string of the plucked guitar uttering a gentle and romantic ode that went to fill the citrus-scented air with a sweet serenade that filled the novelist’s heart with perfection, inspiring him to write and create… to write and write until his fingers exploded in a passion that can only be felt when one reads the lines of a perfect poem or hears a song gloriously played, or listens enraptured to the breath of a woman as breathes her sweet breath after she’s come to the most sensual of all climaxes a body can experience.

(excerpt from Payne’s new novel, coming in 2015)

“The Dawning of the Age of The Wanderess” – From “Literature Monthly” Magazine

The Dawning of the Age of the Wanderess: How Modern Culture is Encouraging Young Women to Travel the World Alone and Free

 

“The Wanderess,” Roman Payne’s latest novel, is experiencing a boom in viral activity. The subject of the book resonates with our internet culture, which allows and encourages women to brave the world on their own

 

In the world of literature, it is extremely difficult to find novels with titles like: “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.” And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may be an artist, but never an adventuress. Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow through the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.”  This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience (usually involving solitary travel), becomes a mature man who is successful in the world.  Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel.  Up until now, it was a social taboo for a woman to travel alone. Beyond concerns for their safety, there was the general opinion that “women just don’t do that.” Fortunately, times have changed.

“A girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of Roman Payne’s new novel “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press, November 2013). Payne coined the term: “wanderess,” which before the novel’s release was unfound in Google. Now, a popular quote from Payne’s novel containing this word is found in Google on over 200,000 webpages. The quote reads:

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

“This quote especially resonates with young women,” says Payne’s publisher, “They post this quote on their WordPress and Tumblr blogs. Many are even titling their blogs ‘The Wanderess’ now.” The infatuation with this quote is partly due to the jealousy women feel towards men who travel alone. Editor of Salon Magazine, Sarah Hepola, described her jealousy in an article in Salon titled “Every Woman should Travel Alone.” In it, she recounts a scene in a movie that inspired her to travel the world: A dying mother tells her daughter, “I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life […] I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone else’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.” Later, after traveling the world, Hepola wrote that it was “the best thing she had ever done.”

Besides literary and magazine claims supporting this lifestyle, our culture and society as a whole has changed in a way that urges women to go alone on the road… “Women have never experienced the freedom they do today,” says social anthropologist, Sophie Reynolds, “As menopause onset and marriage customs have changed, women are no longer expected to get married and have babies at a young age. And due to workplace globalization, corporations have begun to put high value on world travel in candidates for positions within their firms.” In addition to those points, women have more financial independence than they used to, airplane fares are now cheaper than ever, and safety concerns for woman travelling alone have relaxed because there is more emphasis now on women’s quality of life than before. As Payne argues, “An increase in safety risk is a small price to pay where it concerns depriving women of their right to experience a life that is as beautiful and meaningful as the lives we men experience.”

Critical reception to Payne’s novel has been entirely positive. The average Amazon review gives it five stars, and claims it is his best novel ever. Like any great novel, “The Wanderess” has a great romance.  It begins when the life of the book’s heroine, Saskia (the “wanderess” in the novel) gets tangled up with the life of an adventurer named Saul, whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune is abandoned to help Saskia’s quest for her long-lost friend and her own “fortune.”

The back cover description reads: “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

Writer, photographer, and adventurer, Lauren Metzler writes on the subject:

“If I had let the fact that I was a woman keep me from traveling, I would’ve never lived in Thailand for nearly three years or traveled to Australia on my own, backpacked around Europe, wandered Southeast Asia, motorcycled across Italy or trekked across the Great Wall in China! I would have missed out on the most incredible adventures of my life! I believe that everyone can and should travel alone, at least once in their lifetime. Rewards from traveling are such that you will never be the same, and you will never view the world in the same way again.”

Payne receives numerous fan letters everyday from readers, mostly women, who say that “The Wanderess” has been an enormous inspiration in their lives. Many say that they take the book with them on their travels and read and re-read the novel several times, each time they need to refuel their inspiration.

“The Wanderess” is available in many bookstores worldwide, as well as on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle formats. Roman Payne greatly welcomes reader feedback. You can email him directly at roman@wanderess.com.

 

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013.  Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013. Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

Article About Roman Payne on “Books World”

Capture_195The Dawning of the Age of the Wanderess: How Modern Culture is Encouraging Young Women to Travel the World Alone and Free

“The Wanderess,” Roman Payne’s latest novel, is experiencing a boom in viral activity. The subject of the book resonates with our internet culture, which allows and encourages women to brave the world on their own

In the world of literature, it is extremely difficult to find novels with titles like: “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.” And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may be an artist, but seldom an adventuress. Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow through the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.” This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience (usually involving solitary travel), becomes a mature man who is successful in the world. Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel. Up until now, it was a social taboo for a woman to travel alone. Beyond concerns for their safety, there was the general opinion that “women just don’t do that.” Fortunately, times have changed.

“A girl traveling alone” is the subject and setting of Roman Payne’s new novel “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press, November 2013). Payne coined the term: “wanderess,” which before the novel’s release was not found in Google or the dictionary. Now, a popular quote from Payne’s novel containing this word is found in Google on over 200,000 webpages. The quote reads:

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.” (- Roman Payne, “The Wanderess”)

More:  Click Here to Read the Full Article on Books World

Men Must Live for Pleasure and Beauty

Literary Quote about Manhood

“As I look back on my life, I think of how few rules should be followed. As for men, we must learn bravery and live for Pleasure and for Beauty. More important than those two things should stand only one thing for us… Honor. A man’s honor should be more sacred to him than his life — especially in our age, a time when very few men know what honor is.”

– Roman Payne

Quote for Young Women, from “The Serenade” by Roman Payne

Quote for Young Women, by Roman Payne

“As for you girls, you must risk everything for Freedom, and give everything for Passion, loving everything that your hearts and your bodies love. The only thing higher for a girl and more sacred for a young woman than her freedom and her passion should be her desire to make her life into poetry, surrendering everything she has to create a life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in her imagination.”

– Roman Payne

Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”       

– Roman Payne

Recollection of Champagne, Feasts, and Summer Nights (Quote from Rooftop Soliloquy)

Roman Payne Quote from Rooftop Soliloquy

“Champagne arrived in flûtes on trays, and we emptied them
with gladness in our hearts… for when feasts are laid
and classical music is played, where champagne is drunk
once the sun has sunk, and the season of summer is alive
in spicy bloom, and beautiful women fill the room,
and are generous with laughter and smiles…
these things fill men’s hearts with joy and remind one
that life’s bounty is not always fleeting
but can be captured, and enjoyed.
It is in writing about this scene that I relive
this night in my soul.”

~ Roman Payne    (Rooftop Soliloquy)

“If Only One Could Leave This Life Slowly” (Roman Payne by Photographer Marta Szczesniak)

Photo Copyright 2014 Marta Szczesniak

roman-payne_marta01“It’s not that we have to quit
this life one day, but it’s how
many things we have to quit
all at once: music, laughter,
the physics of falling leaves,
automobiles, holding hands,
the scent of rain, the concept
of subway trains… if only one
could leave this life slowly!”
Roman Payne,

Literary Quote for Travelers and Wanderers, by Roman Payne

roman-payne_cities-like-people_1

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”

Roman Payne, Cities & Countries

“Song of the Artist” (a poem)

roman-payne_wife-of-despair

I will always know the glory of the beautiful and rare,
as they will know security from labour and prayer.
As they will hear the laughter of the children they gave life,
I will know the torments of the song born under knife.
And to their girls, they will give,
while with their sons they’ll share;
where I will bear a song—a son!
The wife of despair.

—Roman Payne

Saul on “Youth” (Quote from The Wanderess)

roman-payne_saul-on-youth
SAUL FROM THE WANDERESS:  “When I was younger,
I would cling to life because life was at the top of the
turning wheel. But like the song of my gypsy-girl, the
great wheel turns over and lands on a minor key. It is
then that you come of age and life means nothing to
you. To live, to die, to overdose, to fall in a coma in
the street… it is all the same. It is only in the peach
innocence of youth that life is at its crest on top of
the wheel. And there being only life, the young cling
to it, they fear death… And they should! …For they
are in life.”

― Roman Payne
(The Wanderess, Chapter XVII)

Audio Reading: “Coming of Spring” – excerpt from “Rooftop Soliloquy,” read by the author

 

Back in 2009 I recorded this excerpt from my novel, new at the time, Rooftop Soliliquy…   On “The Coming of Spring”…

http://www.romanpayne.com/audio/MP3Z_literature-readings/Readings_Rooftop-Soliloquy/MP3_roman-payne_coming-of-spring.mp3

Pour La France !! (“For France!”)

 

Cliquez sur l'image pour l'agrandir.

Cliquez sur l’image pour l’agrandir.

Incipit de la version française du roman Wanderess, (bientôt disponible en France !) http://www.wanderess.com (infos, email : francais@wanderess.com)

 

 

Wanderess Quote, Version N°12

She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.

(“The Wanderess” V°12.  Click to Enlarge)

From the novel, The Wanderess, by Roman Payne.

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

(Quote from “The Wanderess” – Chapter XXV)

She was a free bird one minute: queen of the world and laughing. The next minute she would be in tears like a porcelain angel, about to teeter, fall and break. She never cried because she was afraid that something 'would' happen; she would cry because she feared something that could render the world more beautiful, 'would not' happen.... Roman Payne, The Wanderess

“She was a free bird one minute: queen of the world and laughing. The next minute she would be in tears like a porcelain angel, about to teeter, fall and break. She never cried because she was afraid that something ‘would’ happen; she would cry because she feared something that could render the world more beautiful, ‘would not’ happen.”

― Roman Payne, The Wanderess, Chapter XXV