Sunday 15 May 2011

Interview with an Imp

What follows is copy of an interview with me carried out by Tony Berkman who runs Blog Catologue, a blogger community ( woman-of-purpose-vision-intellect-playfulness/). It was fun to think about some of these things, fun to answer Tony’s questions. My answers may give you a little more insight into my character. :-)

He’s all right! Aren’t you, cat? Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s. -

Holly Golightly

Tony: What is the one thing you wish everyone would understand about you?

Anastasia: That my bite really is much worse than my bark.

Tony: Your are an avid reader. In a book review, on GoodReads, you wrote that “…. Holly Golightly, a free spirit, [is] the one figure in literature that I identify more with than any other, the delightful, effervescent, wonderful Holly, always travelling and never arriving.”
Would you mind being more specific about why you relate to Holly Golightly? Is it the fact that she was rebelling against what “traditional” women were supposed to be doing during that time period?

Anastasia: Yes, in part, but there is more. I see Holly as someone totally unique, a force for freedom, not simply rebellion. It’s easy to be a rebel; freedom is a far greater challenge. She stands, if you like as a case sui generis, a totally unique human being, always pursuing her own star. And what a star it is. I can’t imagine other lives not being enriched and enhanced by contact, even of the briefest, with someone like Holly. When Breakfast at Tiffany’s was published it must have caused a sensation simply because she was so untypical, but she hasn’t dated, she’s just as relevant today as she was then, a character who shows that life is simply for living, living in the best and most meaningful way that one can.

Tony: It must have been a tremendous sensation. Your perspective is very interesting and adds more depth to what I perceived her to be. What else is there about her nature that you find so compelling?

Anastasia: She is my avatar, the ultimate imp. She is timeless. If Nietzsche invented the Superman Capote invented the Superwoman.

Tony: Your blog Ana the Imp covers a broad range of topics. You say it’s about ”anything from art to witchraft.” Recent posts you’ve had some movie reviews, some fun political commentary, to covering your feelings about watching the wedding of William and Kate , with your mother. Much of what you write seems riddled with a rye sense of humour especially when you disagree with another’s position. After recent voting you came home to see what the buzz was like on Twitter and you played with other’s online in a somewhat mischievous way. It seemed somewhat like a cat playing with some yarn? Are you mischievous and rebellious by nature?

Anastasia: Yes, I am, I always have been. I was an incredible handful at school, as I feel sure my teachers would tell you, even going right back to primary/grade school. I simply refused to take anything for granted, questioning absolutely everything, especially if it was a contention backed up by no more than the mistress or master’s authority. I really like pulling tails, not to let people rest easy on false and unexamined assumptions. Mischief and humour, I find, are often the best weapons at my disposal.

Tony: You currently live in London. Have you lived in London your entire life?

Anastasia: No, I was born in the county of Surrey, where I spent my early years. From the age of eleven to eighteen I was away at boarding school for most of the time, in High Wycombe in the county of Buckinghamshire.

Tony: Your blog’s subtitle is “This is a tale of succubus,” the Title is “Ana the Imp“? Would you mind describing where your desire to name your blog came from or your vision for your blog?

Anastasia: It suited my nature. Ana is simple enough; it’s just an abbreviation of my first name. An imp is just a mischievous little devil, without malevolence, an appellation which seemed to fit my character so exactly. The ‘tale of a succubus’ reference comes from All Along the Crooked Way, a song by Inkubus Sukkubus, my favourite band. A succubus, incidentally, is not quite so benign. No, she is a female demon who comes in the night to suck all the sexual energy out of men, another dimension to my character.

Tony: Another dimension you appear to have is the need to make certain that you voice your views. This is something I have tremendous respect for. I have read some of your more serious pieces and they are brilliant. They cut through the carnage of difficult issues such as those surrounding the Middle East and the USA’s and UK’s foreign policy. Is this an ability that you have developed through your studies or have you always been able to cut through and communicate complex issues so that they are easy to digest?

Anastasia: It’s awfully kind of you to say so. I’ve always loved words, the power of words. Fortunately I’ve been able to communicate, and communicate with considerable effect, through both the written and the spoken medium. I don’t see any point in complicating issues. If I want to say something, I want to convey a message, then I do so directly without fuss or flap. I so admire the essays of George Orwell precisely because he understood the importance of a clear and uncluttered message.

Tony: Where does the imp or rebel fit into this clarity of writing style?

Anastasia: I like to take people by surprise, not always producing what is necessarily expected of me. I write, or at least I try to write in the spirit of a natural rebel.

Tony: I have noticed that. You love the monarchy yet it is a system of rules and part of you seems to be a rebel? Do you love it because it is one the thing that appears to last despite all the challenges that we face in the world?

Anastasia: I love tradition and I love my country. The monarchy for me is part of the quintessence of England, beyond all challenge; I simply could not imagine my country in its absence. As an institution it places no unduly heavy burdens on us as a people. We change and the monarchy changes with us. But it’s always there, an indication of where we have been and a sign of where we are going, an institution that unites the past, the present and the future. There is no rationality here. This is pure emotion and intuition on my part.

Tony: Your reading list shows you have read over 482 books over the past 6 years and you have another 23 upcoming books to read. To what do you attribute your deep thirst for knowledge?

Anastasia: My parents and grandparents encouraged and nurtured my curiosity and my early love of reading and of books. I was taught to read by mother before I went to my first school, so I already had a head start. I also have the ability to consume things at a terrific rate, to absorb what is important and discard what is not. The homes I have lived in, both in Surrey and London, are cluttered with all sorts of books, to which I had unlimited access.

Tony: Do you see yourself as someone who lives on the borders of society, pushing the edges to see how far you can go?

Anastasia: Yes, in American terms I suppose I’m a frontierswoman, pushing always beyond boundaries.

Tony: Do you have dreams of power and celebrity?

Anastasia: I suppose I must to some extent or other, though I would far rather have meaningful power than shallow celebrity.

Tony: What is it about history that so fascinates you to keep digging and searching?

Anastasia: I think we are all born with a particular talent; it just requires the right kind of stimulus to bring it out. As long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by history, by past lives, by traces in time. It helped that my grandfather was a supreme story teller. He served as an officer in the British Indian Army both before and during the Second World War and he used to tell me the most marvellous tales of his life and times, of India and the Raj, of hunts mounted on elephants, of sahibs and memsahibs, of a life long, long past. The past for me is a foreign country, one to which I travel visa free.

Tony: You have fascinating background Would you mind sharing what is it about the “edges” such as witchcraft, imps, and succubus that attracts you?

Anastasia: It’s my attraction to the dark side. Seriously, witchcraft is an ancient tradition, one of power and wisdom, one based on sacred practices, with constant renewal in oneself and in nature. For me witchcraft is the greatest of all the religions, the veneration of the Great Mother, the veneration of Pan, the Great Father. It’s about life and love at the most sublime.

Tony: I’d like to switch from witchcraft to your doctorate. You are currently finishing your doctorate, which is self-directed study, what specifically are you studying and what do you plan for the end result?

Anastasia: My speciality is in seventeenth century England, specifically the political struggles that took place during the reign of Charles II, which saw the emergence of the Whigs and the Tories, the first English political parties. Beyond getting my degree I’m not yet settled on the outcome. I don’t want to teach, that’s certain, so I’m likely to end up in journalism…or politics.

Tony: I believe England needs another great female politician. You certainly would make one. Aside from your travels through history your travels have taken you to many corners of the earth. Is there a particular place or people that touched your heart the most and what was it about this place that resonated so deeply with you?

Anastasia: Yes, the people of Cambodia, the Khmers, a gentle, wonderful race. It’s difficult to believe that such horror could have been inflicted on them in the 1970s by their own political masters. Their experience has served to compound my hatred of communism, of all life-denying ideologies.

Tony: Have you thought about how you’d like to be remembered?

Anastasia: As a good friend and a unique spirit, an English version of Holly Golightly.

Tony: Well Anastasia aka Lady Holy thank you for your time and interest in sharing a glance into your life and views . I am grateful that you took your time do this for the rest of us.

Anastasia: It is always a pleasure. Thank you Tony.


  1. You are well on your way to a meaningful life, keep going. Goddess speed Ana! Triumph Des Willen!

  2. "As a good friend and a unique spirit, an English version of Holly Golightly"

    yess, I do remember that u are a good blog's friend. keep spirit ana :)

  3. Calvin, as in the Catcher? :-)

  4. Anthony, my dear friend, thanks. :-)

  5. Q: In the UK educational system do they use the PhD 'Doctor of Philosophy' designation for a doctorate degree after your name? is this universal? In the US the Dr 'Doctor' before one's name is generally used by MD's 'Doctor of Medicine'. Do you know if educational systems vary significantly from country to country or do they have some common standards, do they recognize each others credentials? In the US there is a system of obtaining a local state license to practice or teach and that varies from state to state. I suppose countries have similar specific requirements, somewhat complex.

  6. Ana do you think you could suck the energy out of Clegg?

  7. Anthony, yes we use PhD, certainly widespread across the whole academic world. The confusion arises between a doctor and a doctor, meaning an MD- one simply has to ask, or make deductions from the context. Academic doctorates are transferable across the globe but MD standards vary from place to place, some qualifications recognised internationally, others not.

  8. Richard, I rather think it would not be worth the trouble. :-))

  9. Of course they prefer "D.Phil" to "PhD" at certain places...

  10. It is an absolute delight to read this. Are there any records/documents of your grandfather and his time in India. The Raj is one of my passions -

  11. Thank you Rehan. I'll see if I can dig anything out but I have a feeling that most of his papers were disposed of after he died.