Chamed is not the registry office name of the author, yet it is not a pseudonym. She lives in Tuscany, she works mostly abroad, as a painter on canvas and porcelain. Some of her porcelain works are displayed in exhibitions in Italy, Sweden and Poland, France, Portugal and Brazil. My Heart Stopped Beating is her first novel. A second novel by her is forthcoming.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Chamed. Can you tell us what your latest book, My Heart Stopped Beating, is all about?
A: In the book I deal with emotions and affection, that is of life, but I also deal with death, abandonment, absence. This book is a memoir about my life, focusing a lot on my time in a madhouse in Italy.
Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?
A: I based it all on my memories and on the journals I used to keep as a teenager to remember them. I couldn’t stand this feeling anymore – that is present in every day of my life – of not being able to be understood in my present condition as well as in my past condition. I was tired of explaining all the time.
I tried to explain my condition many times. I wasn’t understood. Instead, I was judged. The past is the stock of my pain. When I look at the time that passes, the journey of my life, nothing changed: the things that we leave behind us, sooner or later, reach us.
Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?
A: “Why am I here? I am in a mental hospital! Dad, would you have thought it? Help me.”
I dragged my body out of that mortal icehouse.
With great effort I started walking, but my energies abandoned me and I ensconced myself on the ground.
Don’t remember where, but I was out, in the garden.
A man approached me, staring at me and crying. In his eyes I could see his soul shining.
He said: “You fell from the sky. And men have cut your wings!”
Weeping, I replied: “I’m afraid! Tell me why I’m here. How do I go?! Can you help me?”
“Angels are not afraid.” And he went away.
Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
A: I get up after seven o clock, I prepare breakfast, I read emails. Then I go in my workroom. I paint and draw while listening to music. Art and writing are my passion. I think I don’t have much spare time, but it’s the price I pay for finding the time to do everything I want.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I wish my book could be published in Italy too.
Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?
A: The importance of fighting for social freedom and for human dignity for people that, like me, have lived horrors in horror; the importance of understanding, of listening, of giving moral help, in a word, Love.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Chamed. We wish you much success!
A: Thank you.