Message from the Artist: Fotini Baxevani

I dislike the idea of reducing poetry and fiction to first sentences, but this excerpt conveys the emotional intensity and pure lyricism of my journey into the depth of this role. For the last two years, The Lady of Ro has shaped my life in many ways, including opening my heart to the unexpected ways love manifests itself and seeing mundane things in a different light.

Sometimes I ask travellers: Tell me about the world, son. And they look at me like Im being a nuisance. 

What can I tell you about the world, old lady?, one of them said. Its a mystery if you never see it, and its a mystery if youve seen it from one end to the other.

Well, that upset me, because I knew what they are thinking. They think I dont understand. That my eyes see nothing but stone walls and dust. As if you cant make a wish without a star. As if, if youre away from people, you dont miss a caressing hand.  As if a blind man stops dreaming!  What do they think the world is anyway, your uncles inheritance, to grab as much of it as you can?

You see, none of them ever asks me anything.  I could tell them how to learn to speak about the world. I could tell them about my world. About the rock that the sun bakes and the sea laps. About the rock that doesnt know if God wants it to burn or to drown.

I could talk about my wild fig tree at the edge of the cliff. The one that grows out of nothing and is wanted by neither gravity nor the sky, that doesnt deserve to slide into the sea nor to fly off. People look at you and say its a miracle.  Their hopes bloom along with you – and youre left to wonder whether youd ever bloom in their world, if they would want you in their earth or in their heaven.

I want to show them the seasons of the wind, that breath of the void. The desire to give yourself to anyone, so long as he keeps you alive. What its like to beg for a chance to speak. To have so much to say, and find out that the ships horn is all they can hear. Thats what I want to explain, thats my fear. That nobody will ever learn if you had really wanted to tear up everything, or had just been begging for a place to take you in. 

Well, big deal, you might say. And youd be right. Not everything in life is important, and not every one of us counts. What eats me up is that doubt. That perhaps life could be different. That perhaps a poor wretchs life could be made to count. Because thats what I learned from the rock, the wild fig tree and the wind.

I learned from the Lady of Ro.

—Fotini Baxevani