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Petya Kokudeva: “A child is a dose of courage for me”

January 26, 2013 by · No comments

Jasmina Tacheva talks with author Petya Kokudeva

Petia Kokudeva

Hello! Petya or Radost and what does “fist” have to do with your name?

My name is Kokudeva – and “kokuda” in the Rhodope region means fist. My first name means stone or rock in Greek. On the other hand I was originally named Radost, but then my parents decided on Petya.

I don’t believe much in these symbols, but as Niels Bohr said, “Just because you don’t believe in something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

You write, work as a copywriter and have a degree in journalism. How do you combine all these activities and is there anything else you want to do but you don’t have a lot of time for?

I don’t have as much time to write my own stuff as I would like. Usually I do that at night when I am a bit too tired after work (where I also have to write all day and this wears me out).

Actually it takes me much longer to think of what I am going to write than writing itself. I reflect on my ideas while I’m taking a walk, washing the dishes or just before I fall asleep. Editing takes a lot of time as well…

Petia Kokudeva

What do the words mean to you?

It so happened that my life has been rotating around them. Words are my circumstances, but I must admit that I am more inspired by ideas – by inventing stuff. Its substance doesn’t have to be verbal – it can be an engineering quirk, a drawing, a new form of doing something.

At one point I had even discovered a “History of ideas” college major in the UK … The problem with words is that they can sound good but not contain any meaningful ideas and that bothers me a bit.

How was incredible Lu born – in your words and Romina Beneventi’s palette?

I was a very serious child – I would always be contemplating something deep and tinker and read … But that would actually annoy me terribly – I wanted to recreate myself, to contain a little more self-irony and be able to switch to “unseriousness” mode.

This doesn’t mean less thinking and less thorough searching, but greater smoothness, lightness and light. Lulu was my way to achieve that. I discovered Romina’s drawings after a long search and just knew that that’s exactly what Lulu looks like.

“And somehow she’s a child and an adult all at once,” – is that your diagnosis for most people – that the child in us somehow never disappears completely?

I wouldn’t call it diagnosis … A child is a dose of courage for me – the ability to afford yourself to be fragile, ignorant, to have something to learn, to afford to get wounds, to make friends for the first time, and look at everything not with hollow optimism, but rather with a willingness to act, to run and engage in things.

Petia Kokudeva

What do you think is missing in today’s world?


What gives you hope?

My mother with her frolicking and laughter like Niagara Falls. Tove Jansson. Alain de Bothoan. Mornings. Love as perpetual diligence (not effort!).

The childishly bizarre creations of nature: the crow that keeps tapping on the window of my roof (I really think he wants to talk!), Meerkats, funny trees like those in Tuscany. I am a forest girl, though – the forest will always be my natural language.

Why did you choose to join the team of judges for the “Portali” contest and do you remember how you first met Viktor Mazhlekov?

Oh, well I really like Viktor’s creatures – especially Molly, Nicholas and Larissa… they have depth to them but are funny at the same time. Our first meeting was through a Skype call, then I went to visit him in Plovdiv and saw his paintings first-hand, and we ate soup together…

Do you see any parallels between your and his art or between your worldviews?

We both fall for whimsical creatures. We rely on bright colors. We babble a lot. When we are excited, it shows. In a sense we are both crackpots, lol 🙂

What would you like to wish the participants?

A ship, a sea and a captain hat waiting for them on top of the wheel 🙂

What do you think – are holidays, especially such a long sequence of them as Christmas and New Year, a good time for writing, or not?

They’re a good time for traveling. That’s exactly what I did. And traveling is writing in your head.

When you write your own stuff or read someone else’s poetry, what can make you think: “Yeah, that’s poem”?

If I perceive an internal rhythm – I call it the flight mechanism of the poem – that’s the only necessary condition because otherwise somehow it ceases to be poetry.

Petia Kokudeva

If you had to describe in verse or prose how you feel right now, what would the voice of your inner self sound like?

“And because a grain of sand got
into the eye
of the General,
the residents
of the happy city
had two minutes more to live ”
(Sunay Akin)

I hope for a small sandstorm for the general 🙂

What lies ahead in 2013 for you?

Several long term activities related to writing for children. I hope to end up in Finland in the summer. And I hope to get visited by new little creatures from time to time…

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