In the basement at 12 Iras Street, the author places the struggle for women’s self-determination at a time when in Greece abortion was not a right, but a crime. He takes us to Greece in the 1960s and assigns the leading role to Anti, who, under her pen, begins the journey from absolute fear to empowerment, self-realization, offer, winning the rights of herself and others. “It’s hard to be a woman”says the back cover of the new book signed by Pashalia Travlow. And how difficult it really remains.
On the occasion of her new book “Basement at 12 Gerasa Street”, which is in 2023, when the US canceled the iconic case “Row vs.” wade and together women’s guaranteed right to abortion, we spoke with Pashalia Travlow about what inspired her to write this story. What motivated her to talk about the women who stood in solidarity with their male allies, how her own relationship with writing began, and what her day-to-day writing life is like. Her answers are as captivating as her books.
How did your relationship with writing begin?
I would say that it came to me effortlessly, like an instinct. From the moment I learned to write and read, I have expressed myself with paper and pencil. This tendency was reinforced by my family environment, which at first encouraged me and developed my love of reading, and then especially by my grandfather, who read non-stop from newspapers and novels to encyclopedias, “corrected” everything I wrote, and helped me talk to my “heart”.
You are a prolific writer. Do you write every day? Is there a “schedule” if you are a professional writer?
Writing is a mysterious process that requires both freedom and strict self-discipline. Freedom lies in free expression, in experimentation, in testing, in the absence of censorship of the stimulus that will fascinate me.
Self-discipline is the essence of any professionalism that we must possess in order to complete a project.
Only with consistency and schedule can I improve and build the world of the novel. In fact, the first recording of the story that sets the book in motion is completed in three to four months, so I’ve been sculpting language and scenes ever since. Thus, you can understand that the process of writing a book is not only a daily one when I am writing a book, but also extremely hectic and difficult. Breakfast, military wake-up at 5, letter until 7.30, work again in the evening, correction of the morning newspaper from 8 to 10 pm. On weekends, when I’m writing, I forget what it’s like to go out for coffee with friends.
– You were inspired by the story of Melek Ipek for the book Sande and the Pink Liqueur. What women inspired you to write the book “Basement at 12 Iras Street”?
Basement at Iras street 12 was created to hear the cry of agony of all those women who for centuries have longed for the self-determination of their bodies and suffered from the deprivation of this right.
The fact that in the 21st century the U.S. Supreme Court in the Carolinas once again ruled against abortion was enough to mobilize me mentally and emotionally.
When the PR manager of Dioptra Alexandra Avgerina asked me to write an article on this topic, knowing about my gender concerns, 1500 words this text led to the creation of the entire novel.
– Women’s history often remains “invisible”. How long did it take for the study to get a complete picture of what life was like for women in Greece before abortion was legalized?
I must admit I was lucky because my gender mentor was Maria Gasuka, professor at Aegean University, specialist in gender issues. Having received her master’s degree from her, she opened new horizons for me and gave personality to the literature that I write. When I entrusted her with the subject I wanted to study, she provided me with rich scientific material, legal and folklore, checked and rechecked in every respect. Therefore, I only needed to study it, and not look for it in the first place. This saved me valuable time. With intensive study, I was ready to start writing in about a month and a half.
– What do you most admire about Anti’s story and her journey from fear to self-realization and her evolution?
Her strength. A power that looks soft but is fire. And at the same time people who understand her and help her. I didn’t randomly insert male figures to support her dream. Only when both sexes fraternize can we speak of true civilization. But at the same time, I am fascinated by how she reveals herself and her power, taking the place of Anti: With determination, internal dialogue, militancy, humiliation and self-destruction. To bring to an end the initial doubts that her maternal instinct inspires her about her choice.
– Did you ever fear for a moment that your book would have a backlash against the characters representing the church and their crimes in the story?
No way. For Papa Dros is only a man who happened to serve the clergy, as any position can serve. Good and evil are proven everywhere. The people themselves, with their incomparable wisdom, have pointed out that races do not make a pope.. With my book I do not excommunicate the clergy, but the erring priest. In addition, the book contains the symbolic figure of Pope-Zafiris, the opposite of Pope-Drosos. But also, in 2023, I consider myself entitled as a writer and as a person to express in my books those pathologies that have tormented entire women for centuries and made them second-class creatures, since they do not even have the right to define their bodies.
Some priests undoubtedly increased the obscurantism and degrading attitude towards women.
Do you really think that “people are starting to wake up”? If not, when do you think they will wake up when it comes to women’s rights?
People have certainly been waking up for decades, but whether they’ve woken up or have yet to go through is a huge question. As long as there are femicides, rape, abusive behavior, domestic violence, sexual harassment even in Western societies, one can understand that it is premature to talk about awakening. It is even more premature to talk about women’s rights in African or Asian societies while there are still child marriages, clitorectomy, illiteracy, veils, veils, and so on. The road is still long and difficult. But the beginning is half the battle, and the job is done.
The plot of the book Basement on Geras street, 12
“… It’s hard to be a woman. And if your bowels rumble involuntarily, don’t give a damn. Talk about it with your heart and mind. And don’t you dare commit murder and go to Hell if you think there is no other way out. You say that we angel makers. We send angels to Heaven so they don’t live in the Hell of this world.”
This is how the notebook of Pagona, the deceased midwife of Paradisos, from the village where Anti, the daughter of the cunning Drosos dad, grew up in the 60s. To this family heirloom and to the harlot Lula, she desperately turned for help in order to save herself from the dilemma in which she was unwittingly trapped.
The heroine unexpectedly finds a land in the monastery of Agia Lehausa thanks to the knowledge of the nun Hyakinthis and the self-sacrifice of the teacher Stratis Klonaridis. Since then, she has been fighting in the basement of 12 Rue Iras for the right of women to determine their heart and body.
Unless she is tormented by primordial doubt, is she a murderer or … an angel-creator, sin or right – self-determination and freedom. A book that proves that a woman is a comma, a period and an exclamation mark in all senses of life.
A woman is not just an addition to a man’s life, something like an appendix to a text. This is a comma, a period and an exclamation mark in the creation of the Almighty. And if it falls into the wrong place, the meaning of this world is lost.
Pashalia Travlow also signs the following books published by Dioptra: Kiss on the eyes, statue in the atticcompletely revised edition of the novel Silence wheelstrilogy “Elegy of Ashes” (Gods of Ash, People of Ash and Angels of Ash) Doctor, Sande and pink liquor, Medea never danced And Priestess with a tattoo.
Source: Lady Like
I am Ted Washington and I work in The News Dept. I specialize in researching, writing, and editing news articles for a wide variety of topics. My articles are published on various online portals including The News Dept. In my role as an author, I strive to bring readers engaging stories that capture their attention and make them think about the current events at hand.