What to keep of all these reels of film, what to throw away? If we could only take 1 memory on our journey, what would we choose? At the expense of what or whom? And most importantly, how to choose among all these shadows, all these spectres, all these titans? Who are we, when all is said and done? Are we the people we once were or the people we wish we had been? Are we the pain we caused others or the pain we suffered at the hands of others? The encounters we missed or those fortuitous meetings that changed the course of our destiny? Our time behind the scenes that saved us form our vanity or the moment in the limelight that warmed us? We are all of these things, we are the whole life that we have lived, its highs and lows, its fortunes and its hardships, we are the sum of the ghosts that haunt us… we are a host of characters in one, so convincing in every role we played that it is impossible for us to tell who we really were, who we have become, who we will be.
― Yasmina Khadra, What the Day Owes the Night
Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending a talk given by Yasmina Khadra ... aka Mohamed Moulessehoul.
Mohamed was an officer in the Algerian army, a man who was forced to adopt a woman’s pseudonym to avoid military censorship as the writer he was. Despite the publication of many successful novels in Algeria, Moulessehoul only revealed his true identity in 2001 after leaving the army and going into exile and seclusion in France.
It was fascinating, despite being in French and Italian. Sometimes that just leaves a person free to watch and examine body language and location, and the people around them.
It was held in Genova’s exquisite Palazzo Ducale ...
It was an enjoyable interlude.
And yes ... I regret not taking my camera but I was running late.