It's the word 'artful'; it's such a great word, with its dark and its light side, its art and its cunning, the craft and the crafty of it - I've been preoccupied with the word 'artful' and the twin notions of 'cornucopia' and 'pickpocket' it suggests for quite some time.
We'd never expect to understand a piece of music on one listen, but we tend to believe we've read a book after reading it just once.
Nothing is harmful to literature except censorship, and that almost never stops literature going where it wants to go either, because literature has a way of surpassing everything that blocks it and growing stronger for the exercise.
As for Aliki - if you were to stand in the middle of Rome and say the name Sophia Loren, or Paris and say the name Catherine Deneuve or Brigitte Bardot, or L.A. and the name Marilyn Monroe, it's like standing in Athens, or anywhere in wide-flung Greece, and saying Aliki Vougiouklaki. A huge star - and so little known elsewhere in the world.
I'm blessed in my good friends, and some of them happen to be writers, though that's almost never what our friendships are about. And every writer I've ever read, living or dead, has in one way or another helped and inspired. I have a feeling it's important not to mix the two up.
I had a job, I got ill, I left the job to get better, and while I was getting better, I wrote some stories. I sent them to some publishers and the fifth one who replied said they'd take them. Then they went bankrupt. Then that bankrupt publisher got bought by a bigger firm. Story: in the end is the beginning, and in the beginning is the end.