A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Pasithea Chan

with Pasithea Chan:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Pasithea: My first experience in writing came out of grief and disbelief when my country’s prime minister Mr Rafic Harriri was assassinated. At that time I was in second year law school. I remember being in class when recording my civil law lecture when the window frame fell over and around me after the glass bursted from the power of the explosion. I remember running out of class to the open to looking up to the sky with rubble dropping into my eyes and my hair with the smell of burnt flesh and fire. It took me two weeks to process the shock and writing was my only release. Later, came travel for work in the Arab Gulf countries and the far East. After meeting my maternal side of the family who are Pinay-Hispanic, and enjoying exploring the Philippines, I found inspiration in the colorful cultural dances and the exotic beauty of the place. Combined with my love for schools of art esp open impressionism, I began to write religiously as a way to take a break from legal and academic writing.

Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?

Pasithea: From the contemporary writers? No one but from the old times Gibran Khalil Gibran, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, and Al-Motannabi. I like the power of rebellion for social justice, the clarity of mysticism and asceticism. For me intellectualism and impressionism are key to carrying a writer from a paper unto the hearts of his readers. A writer is someone who can mentally imprint on you.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?

Pasithea: I grew up(if you consider mental and physical aspect) between Lebanon, Philippines, and Turkey(dad was Turkish Lebanese). Almost every place I’ve been to added to my plume’s quiver. For example Singapore added modernism, Bahrain easy going tones, Turkey intricacy etc. Sometimes a thing as simple as a pattern on a persian carpet being weaved right in front of you makes long to draw what you see in writing. When I write, I always choose open spaces especially when I travel. I choose spots where I can get to be in the background of the local rhythm where I can observe people and listen to life’s melody flow amongst the people I am learning about.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Pasithea: I used to think it’s just my #didactic poems but after realizing  my love for history and mythology,  I believe it’s my historical fiction pieces which I weave into them contemporary political current events. I mention Elissar’s Star Sapphire, Cedar’s Box, Cedars’ Morrighan Crow, and Elissar’s Tears. 

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/poet/artist?

Pasithea: In 2019, when the Lebanese revolution happened, I felt it was a place for artists and a time to show one’s true heart by inspiring my people to be better. I wrote Truth’s Volcano a double lingo Acrostic. It was a poem half in Arabic and acrostic and half in english also Acrostic.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Pasithea: I love to do gardening, travel, make perfumes, cook, listen to music, and take long walks.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Pasithea: Currently I am a contributor here on feversoftgemind and uglywriters. I haven’t been pushing a lot of work since I am finishing my master’s graduation thesis in business law.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from writing or favorite art pieces?

Pasithea: I like Kagaya's digital art pieces and Thomas Cole's series of portraits called "Course of an Empire" from the Hudson River School of painting. As well as Leonid Afremov.   
(c) Leonid Afremov
Arcadian Empire

A brush carved on the Hudson River
honed romanticism on its bristles.
Dipped in ideal rustic beauty; paints
a paradise lost in an industrial revolution.

Glorified in emotional trees
standing freely to defy norms
of enlightenment and aristocrats.
With clear skies and vast greens
Thomas expresses beauty’s notions.

A fresh morning in spring or summer
shifts a river further down as a crag
and boulder witness a peak fork
from a distance beyond.

Much of the wilderness
disappears into settled lands.
Plowed fields peer with lawns
unto newly built boats,
shepherds herding sheep,
and dancing settlers.

His individualism shows
as an old man sketches
geometrical problems
with sticks.

On a bluff by the river
a megalithic temple hides
beneath sacrificial fumes.
Ideally this fits pre-urban Greece.

The Arcadian Empire signifies
humanity and nature at peace.
A notion portrayed in activities
that relate safety for nature and its inhabitants

As far as poems I love Francis William Bourdillon's: 

"The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one:
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Pasithea: Believe it or not, sometimes you meet people online via websites like allpoetry who teach you technique through contests and prompts. Her name was Sylvia. She ran several contests and taught me from shadow sonnets to cinquains, to constanza, to rondeau, you name it.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Pasithea Chan



Poem by Pasithea Chan : “A Stone that Hits Home”

(c) Pasithea Chan
A Stone that Hits Home 

Even white noise can give you a migraine
when your world stands still with pain.
Fight is a light that can blight a heart with plight
like a sunrise drabbed into a sunset with fright.
Bereft bonds feint hearts until they faint.
You can’t plant your feet where you can’t wait;
just as you can’t lean on paint or enliven a brick.
The trick is not to stick with what won’t stick.
Life's stories are muddy quarries where worries 
cloud those under and shroud with their thunder
bereft memories like lightening hailing pain for rain. 
They make you seek shelter and wait for things to get better
They let you stay but in the end you pay.
They toil and soil you until you play 
parts that deafen you to words that slay
your heart before your ears or mind can hit replay.
Everything and everyone are nothing and no one
when you lose heart and part with who you were.
Sometimes the start is the end because a part
of what happened to you becomes all of you yet apart.
Sometimes where you are summarizes how you are:
A busy street in the alleys of defeat.
A flustered pleat torn in an unsuccessful feat.
From someone to no one to everyone.
After all, we are all victims of tole bells that toll:
To fall is a call: to stand tall or lose it all for a goal
Life is a game, so let’s play paying for our stay.
We all gotta pay,  sometimes by staying away.
The pain is the same even when all you gain
 is a chance to do it all over again like a stain
 that won’t go; it drives you insane with its inane 
dance tapping to  condition your brain with bane.
You look the same, but you are never the same.
You wonder why right goes left right with what’s left.
or why chances and hopes are tropes; or you can accept that there’s nothing left
to be missed when home is where you were left.
 Time to run, what a pun! Age is time’s theft
in a time where loved ones leave one bereft.
Alone is a stone that hits home, a home alone, 
with windows made of plumes not stone 
with paper panes filled with words not broken bone
that sing like birds do every sunrise, only to be gone
when the sun sets as I set in stone I am on my own.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Pasithea Chan

Poetry by Pasithea Chan : “Surreal Assurance”

Surreal Assurance

The moon paddles the sky
to shine in your eye.
The wind winks in periwinkles
to draw your smile, it tickles.
Shadow and light tiptoe and fight
for the right to touch you tonight.
Time bends to your sight like a rime
pearled around a tine from rain for a rein.

I wish I was the moon because I
would fall from the sky into your eye.
I wish I was the sky because I
would break the paddle, just to cuddle.
I wish I was the moon because I
would drown in your sea like the dawn you see.
I wish I was the sea because I
would pull you to me when I miss you.

You are my dawn, when I'm alone.
You are my own, in a world of stone.
And until my eyes shut down, for
the night, I write about you to feel alright.
For now, that's how I can show
You're mine and I'm yours, that's for sure.

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