Virginia and Leonard
Cities are smells: Acre is the smell of iodine and spices. Haifa is the smell of pine and wrinkled sheets. Moscow is the smell of vodka on ice. Cairo is the smell of mango and ginger. Beirut is the smell of the sun, sea, smoke, and lemons. Paris is the smell of fresh bread, cheese, and derivations of enchantment. Damascus is the smell of jasmine and dried fruit. Tunis is the smell of night musk and salt. Rabat is the smell of henna, incense and honey. A city that cannot be known by its smell is unreliable. Exiles have a shared smell: the smell of longing for something else; a smell that remembers another smell. A painting, nostalgic that guides you, like a worn tourist map, to the smell of the original place. A smell is a memory and a setting sun. Sunset, here, is beauty rebuking the stranger.
But to love the sunset is not, as they say, one of the attributes of exile.
Simon Roberts - Polyarnye Nochi, 2004-2005
"Unforgiving and dramatic winters have often been regarded as one of Russia’s most defining characteristics. A Russian winter is redolent both of great hardship: extreme temperatures, physical privation, an atmosphere of isolation and desolation, but also great beauty. Russia’s majesty is heightened by the intensity of its winter and for centuries, the Russian winter has been romanticised by many artists from the master realists of the nineteenth century, to modern day film directors such as Tarkovsky and Zviagentsev."
the first hurdle for the aspiring author is the one made of piles of wrappers, empty mugs, energy drink cans and balled-up pages of their scrapped drafts, that they must risk life and limb to leap over to reach their desk