I’ve always been surrounded by books. I remember my mother’s personal library which I had to dust every now and then. I would pick up the books, read a bit from them, find the dedications, letters and notes hidden inside — signs from the lives of the people who had touched them.
Later on I started my own bookshelf. I had a little place where I put my fairytales, a geographic atlas, stories with Greek gods and adventure novels. As I grew up I would move some of my mother’s books onto my shelf, books that I felt were suitable for me. Every book I moved felt like a little victory and, more than with anything else, I had a sense of ownership about these books.
Then the books that I had read over and over again started to disapear from my shelf. At first I was outraged at seeing an empty space where there had been a precious book; it felt like something was very wrong and I asked my mother for an explanation. She told me “I’ve taken them to my children” (she’s a teacher in a primary school). My books filled the imagination of other kids who always wanted more to read and after protesting against it, I realised this was actually a good thing.
I then started my own little library in my bedroom with French novels, philosophy and poetry books. I added to it constantly and when I moved to Bucharest only a few of my books came with me. I started reading in other languages and my personal library is now half Romanian and half English with a few titles in Italian and French.
I usually carry books with me; a fiction and a non fiction one. There’s always a book in which I find refuge, in which I seek clarity and enlightenment.
I taste metaphors and learn from all the writers about how I would like to write. I want to use simple words and speak personally. I want my words to hug each other and create different meaning for different people. I want to keep the attention of the reader and touch their imagination with a gentle brush of interpretation.
Books are also patient. You can read at your own pace, in one day or one week or one month, but a movie will not wait for you.