EXCLUSIVE: Greek Interview
Madonna Tribe‘s Greek correspondent Dimitris sent us an interesting interview by Greek journalist Justine Frangouli. Justine inteviewed Madonna last September in Paris during the promotion of the English Roses. Even if this interview is similar to others in some places, it also contains some interesting new “revelations”. Enjoy your reading
“Dressed in her black satin Prada dress, Madonna in no way resembles the star who so recently shocked with her provocative movements, her bold appearances and her passionate kisses. She looks more like one of the “English Roses,” the heroines of her first children’s book. Here in Paris, in the garden of the Gallimard publishing house, she declares her love for her daughter Lola, as well as her admiration for Saint-Exupery’s “Little Prince,” a focal point in her existential quest. The first of 5 children’s books, “The English Roses“, is the beginning of the author’s endeavor that appears to be promising. Upright and elegant, and with a penetrating green glance, Madonna’s presence is dominant. It is now time that I come tete-a-tete with Madonna for some exclusive interview. And she speaks of everything. About her childhood deprived of a maternal presence, about the egocentricity in her youth, her turn to spiritualism and of her children’s stories that are based on her own experiences. But also about Greece’s blue waters and the Olympic Games in Athens”.
To read the Interview click on “Full Article”
Why did you choose Paris to launch your first children’s book? Why not New York, the world’s epicenter? Or London, where you currently live?
The dream of every author who writes children’s books is to be published and launched by the Gallimard publishing house. It is Gallimard that offered mankind the Little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It is an honor for me to launch my first children’s book at the house which brought forth the bible of existential quest.
What role did the Harry Potter fad play in your turn to writing children’s books?
None at all. I began writing books so that I could offer my daughter and son something more than children’s stories which are often mere fairy tales with absolutely no meaningful message. This is how I embarked on the endeavor of writing. I was in no way influenced by Harry Potter mania.
How do your books differ from the Harry Potter series? In what regard do they resemble each other?
My books are stories for children of six years of age and older. Illustrations are one of their strong characteristics. My stories are autonomous literary pieces and have many truths and teachings to convey. Harry Potter is a hero whose readership is comprised of older children.
Why did you choose to have your books published in 30 languages in 100 countries of the world?
I wanted to share my stories with all the children of the world because they derive from personal experiences. My stories may address children but at the same time they portray a piece of my own life and personality. I’d like my books to be read worldwide.
Who is your hero, then? Harry Potter or the Little Prince?
The Little Prince, of course, for he expresses all the self-evident questions surrounding human existence. Who, young or old, doesn’t know about this prince of French literature, about this giant of the existential quest?
What inspired you to write these books?
I was inspired by my own children, Lola and Rocco. I realize that having children brings with it the responsibility to provide answers to their questions. I myself found these answers when I began studying Kaballah a few years back. I understand that there was, and continues to be, a reaction in the world to all of my words and actions, good and bad. I feel the implications of personal and global Karma.
How did you become a Kaballah member?
I was always open in my quest regarding important existential issues. When I discovered Kaballah, I found tranquility of spirit and body. This goes beyond the concept of religion, because ultimately it is religion that separates people. Religions constitute a dividing line between cultures and lead people to conflict.
How has your belief in Kaballah enriched you?
It taught me that energy is always one and always positive. When we lose this energy we are cut off from God who is the uplifter of our existence. Besides, my Kaballah spiritual guides always encouraged me to turn to writing.
Is it true that the revenues from your book sales will go to The Spirituality For Kids Foundation?
Yes, all book revenues will go to this center which helps children develop in spiritual health. Since my daughter has been attending the Spirituality Center, she has become a new person, filled with a deeper love and understanding for all around her. I wish I had known Kaballah earlier in my life. I would have been protected from a great deal of pain all these years.
How did you conceive the title “The English Roses”?
My daughter goes to the French School of London and hangs out with four English girls. These young English girls form a small group in a French environment . They are a tad isolated and their schoolteacher calls them “my English roses” because they are inseparable.
What is the story about?
It is the story of a small girl whose friends are jealous because she is beautiful, bright and intelligent. However, when they see how she really lives, they quickly change their attitude.
Is Madonna also to be found somewhere in this story?
Of course I am hidden somewhere in this story. I express the envy I felt as a child because my mother had died. I missed her presence and was immensely envious of other girls who had mothers. I was envious of their beauty, their wealth and their happiness and this envy always haunted my existence.
Were you able to overcome this envy later in life?
Sure, I have been freed from it. Envy is the most overwhelming feeling, it keeps you down. It doesn’t let you enjoy anything and you cannot be in control of anything because it makes your heart bleed. Today, of course, I experience the reverse, with people either being jealous of me and being unkind as a result, or little girls being jealous of my daughter and alienating her.
By the way, did your father ever read books to you?
Yes, in our small house every evening, he would sit in the corridor and read out so loud that all the children in all the rooms could hear. Perhaps the fact that I had no mother helped me ultimately. I learned to be a survivor!
Which were your preferred books?
The Giving Tree, Charlotte’s Web, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden and, later on, the Little Prince. I always doubted books that had no message to convey, even in my early years when I had few inner queries.
What do children really look for?
Children do not want money and illusions. They want magic. This is what we should give children — magic. They want to be taught what is genuine and what is false, what is right and what is unfair. They want to be truly loved.
In 1992 you shocked the entire literary world with your photo album, Sex. A book that is miles away from children literature…
At that period I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to tear down all barriers. I was twirling around myself. I do not reject that phase of my life, but, on the contrary, I defend it. However, I am entirely different today. I have surpassed exhibitionism. I am a transformed person.
How would you like history to remember you? As a shocking artist or as a dedicated mother and writer of children books? Do you intend to write stories for adults as well?
I don’t see myself in one or the other way. The truth is that I am thinking of writing for adults. I like writing. I believe it is a form of expression that cultivates human existence. I have much to say and to share. I will certainly write books for adults.
What messages do your five books convey?
The first deals with the issue of jealousy and envy, the second with uncertainty and faith, the third with the acknowledgment of our mistakes and how to overcome them, the fourth about the joy of giving and sharing on the road towards happiness and the fifth about the power of words. Hopefully there is a lesson in each book that will help kids turn painful or scary situations into learning experiences.
All the same, The English Roses is more of a girls’ book.
The next book, due out in November, is dedicated to my son, Rocco, and is entitled, “Mr. Peabody’s Apples.” It’s more of a boys’ book!
And one question related to Greece if you please. You are a very athletic and fit woman. How do you view the fact that in 2004 the Olympic Games will take place in the land of their birth? Will you attend the Olympic Games in Athens?
“I’d love to be at the Olympic Games in Athens where the athletic spirit will be re-baptized in its cradle. It will be the most significant sporting event of the century. But even if I don’t succeed in attending, I will watch them on television on a Greek island. By all means!
Is it true that you have bought land on a Greek island to have a house built there?
I wish I had! I love Greece. I love the islands, the impossibly blue waters of the sea, the colours, the architecture that is so diverse and always surprising! I wish!
The night has fallen over the Gallimard gardens. Madonna takes her beautiful daughter, Lola, by the hand and walks away, upright, yet at the same time, fragile. “Beautiful questions,” her publisher Nicholas Callaway whispers to me. “And tell parents to read stories to their children before they fall asleep. That’s magic!,” she adds.