#crowdlitbus diary: Pauliina Haasjoki

Finnish #crowdlitbus author Pauliina Haasjoki (you can read her One is a CROWD interview here) strolls through Thessaloniki on a free day of leisure and dwells on sentience by the beautiful defense tower. As we close in to Friday and the closing event of our epic tour, let us reminisce a bit and slow down the flow of time. Look forwards in the next days for short and insightful journal entires, essays and thoughts by our #crowdlitbus authors on their journey from Istanbul to Athens!

Walking in Thessaloniki, on Saturday, our free day, we discover that the White Tower of Thessaloniki is part of the worldwide teleport network of round towers. You can enter any round tower anywhere and get out, say, in Denmark and go to a colleague’s favourite bar. I try to think of any round towers in Helsinki so that I could take my old and new friends to Hernesaaren ranta; maybe there’s one in

We get out of the tower in Thessaloniki. We then find a cafe under the trees, with light green parakeets, probably former pets and escapees, flying between the trees. We get into a conversation about the numbers of refugees in different European countries and in the so called nearby areas. There are so many good arguments in this matter and a group of people from different backgrounds can find them like we do, people will know interesting facts or be able to phrase a line of thought. I am completely at a loss as to the reasons for Finland’s refugee quota or the current trend to tighten immigration laws. I understand it even less than I do at home.

I hear later on in a conversation that minks might not be crazy natural born killers after all, that being displaced, captured and released back into nature might cause in them a collective psychosis for generations. I go, I just knew it that their heedless killing had to be the fault of humans somehow. I think about animals like I always do, I see the strays, the cats who make cautious contact with people at restaurants, the dogs who maintain their cool if they possibly can, walking their own straight line past you without looking up. I wonder if it’s insulting to someone that I bring them up here after talking about human beings in dire need.

So there are living creatures, sentient beings, but I should maybe also mention algorithms and programs; they were present yesterday at our spontaneous seminar, as agents, assistants, informants, in poetry. There are things that are not emotions or sensations or thoughts, that can create poetic expression.

Later on in the evening we merge with the writers of the next leg and with local writers to form a continuum of 20 people reading outdoors. The sound in the amphitheatre is so good, the air so mild, the projections in front of our eyes with clear translated words, that I can lean into the readings and enjoy their deep, branching good quality without feeling exhausted. Unexpectedly a stray dog chooses the floor of the amphitheatre as her sleeping place and stays there till the end, although some of us shout out words and abbreviations that in human language mean threatening things. It seems to be comforting to people too, to hear their discomfort and worry shared inside someone else’s poem from somewhere else.

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