I am a novelist currently wandering in Spain. I am writing my fifth novel, which will be published in six months. It is about a girl who wanders as I do. She passes through many countries and sleeps in strange beds as I do. Her life is strange as mine is. Our lives are poetic and absurd. I enjoy looking at my life as an object of curiosity. When I drink red wine and wander the European streets at night, and the lantern light glows orange on the stones, I feel as though I am character in a Roman Payne novel. Although my characters are happy for the most-part, they are also sensual and suffer from excessive dreams.
I am the last male in my line with the name Payne. If I were lucky enough to have a wife, instead of remaining solitary as we novelists are so often condemned to remain, I would devote myself to creating children and would consider their creation as worthwhile as writing a novel. Yet I would prefer to have all daughters, (save for one male heir to carry on my name), since as far back as I can remember, girls have delighted me beyond belief. When I was six years old, I had the honor of attending a Catholic school where my class was composed of twenty-eight girls, and four boys including myself. It was no doubt then that I learned all of the qualities and habits that have stuck with me to this day, namely: sensuality.
I am fond of dishes with saffron. I can devour the spiciest chili peppers in any marketplace; and the hotter they are, the more pleasing. Honey is excellent only when it is white in color, and very opaque. I appreciate wild mushrooms of all varieties, especially when they are sautéed in a fine oil. I have a friend who is a great pianist. He is from Certaldo in Italy, the birthplace of Boccaccio. His family produces the best olive oil that I have ever tasted. When it comes to cheese, I like a strong Roquefort most of all.
The only place I call home is Paris. It is a city where I lived for eleven great years. I first moved there in 1999 when the currency was the franc and it was very cheap. I moved back again in 2004 when the currency had become the euro and it was very expensive. To be sensual and full of dreams are both dangerous qualities to possess if living in an expensive city. I left Paris one year ago and went to try to live in Marrakech, but just as Paris was a perfect match for my personality, Morocco was ill-suited to it. I left Morocco with my ambitions in turmoil, and have since been wandering… from Madrid to Athens, Greece; to Seattle (the city of my birth), back to Athens, to Sofia, Bulgaria; and now to Valencia, where I sit currently, writing this self-explanation, seated on a leather bench in the suite of the Caro Hotel, where outside the rain pounds on the tiled rooftops and on the belfries of the Cathedral in the Plaça de la Reina.
I will leave Valencia soon and I do not know where I will go. I never know where I will go. That is the sorrow of living the life of your dreams: that I am a novelist, I guide my occupation, it does not guide me. And this world is an endless terrain of changing shapes and hillsides, all similar shades of green they go off this-way, come from that-way; and not knowing why or to where, how can a man know where to lead himself? Is it not senseless to wander? Is it not absurd to stand still?
– ROMAN PAYNE (Valencia, Spain; November 12, 2012)
“My books primarily focus on the lives of heroic individuals who strive to live the poetic life.”
Roman Payne is the author of five books: Crepuscule, Cities & Countries, The Basement Trains, Hope & Despair, and Rooftop Soliloquy. He is published by ModeRoom Press. His next novel: The Wanderess will be published in 2013 chez Aesthete Press.