10 Q’s with Maria A. Karamitsos – Windy City Greek

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Founder & Editor of WindyCity Greek. – Celebrating All Things Greek!

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1.  Do you write every day?

Yes, in some manner. My morning routine includes journaling. As WindyCity Greek grows, there are increasing management responsibilities. This means I’ve brought in more contributing writers, and I’m creating less content. I still write at least one article a week

2. Do you write with or without music?

It depends. Sometimes with and sometimes without. There’s no special formula to determine with or without – sometimes it’s just mood. When I’m creating content, I do often go to my Tune-In Radio app, and select Calm Radio’s Reiki, Positivity, or Balance channels. The calming music tends to center me, and allow me to better focus. Hit songs and upbeat music compel me to sing and dance, and I can’t concentrate.

 

3. What word do you overuse?

Goodness. I think it depends on what I’m writing. If I’m writing on my parenting blog, or even in my novel, I find that I use “so” a lot. I do try hard not to repeat words in articles. I noticed that when I am writing about Greece, I tend to use “amazing” and “beautiful” way too much. I need to find some other descriptive words and shake it up a bit.

4. Do you have any writing rituals or prayers?

I pray, and many times a day. I often find that I pray before writing an article, and then when I’m sending it off; I want to do my best work and do a good job for the community. I do have a ritual that I use every day, and I find that when I don’t do it, the day doesn’t go as smoothly. I follow Hal Elrod’s Morning Miracle: accomplish more before 8:00 am. His concept is based on what he calls “Life Savers”: S: Silence; A: Affirmations; V: Visualize; E: Exercise; R: Read; S: Scribe. I start my day with silent prayer. Then I go through a list of affirmations, and visualize what my day will be like – what’s on the agenda, how I want things to go. Then I stretch, do some ab and arm work, run in place. Then I read the Scriptures for the day. Lastly, I write in my journal. This is my time. These are golden hours – the family is asleep. No one is asking me for anything. The phone isn’t ringing. This is my time to do something for me, to invest in me. This program has helped me in so many ways.

 5. What are you reading right now? Watching on TV?

Since I review books by Greek authors or with Greek subject matter, that’s what I typically read. There is little time for anything else. I love discovering new authors! I read several books a month, as well as blogs. Right now, I’m reading Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing, a memoir by Ekaterina Botziou. I don’t watch much TV. During the regular season though, you can find me watching “Dancing with the Stars” with my daughters. 😉 For the last few weeks, I’ve been watching “The Greeks” on PBS. You might occasionally find me watching HGTV. That’s a guilty pleasure.

 6. What is a book that you read over and over again?

Since I’m always in review mode, there is no opportunity to re-read. There are several authors of which I will read anything they write – namely Harry Mark Petrakis, Nicholas Gage, and Jeffrey Siger, to name a few.

7. What is the biggest challenge you face as a woman who writes?

Time. As a wife, a mom, caregiver to elderly parents, and now running an online publication, there is always some obligation that calls. My daughters are 9 and 7. They still need lots of mom time, and well, the world has changed. We have to be involved at school, and very hands-on. There’s always something I’m volunteering for or driving to, cleaning, or cooking. It never ends. That’s why it’s taking me years to finish my novel.

8. If I weren’t a writer, I would be…

Gosh, I have no idea. I might spontaneously combust without the creative outlet.

 9. What inspires you?

Many things inspire me. Sea, mountains, a gorgeous sunset, laughter, hugs from my daughters, a night out with my husband. There’s inspiration everywhere. I’m so grateful to wake up every day and be so blessed. I’m a walking miracle, and that inspires me to do more and achieve more. That can sometimes cause me more stress, but truth be told, I can’t sit still. 😉

 

10.  After seeing WindyCity Greek, what do you hope readers take away?

I hope that readers see that Greeks are continually innovating and doing exciting things – they are not resting on their laurels. You may have heard the saying, “Greeks built the Parthenon and called it a day.” It’s so not true. Many people said I’d quickly run out of positive things to write about, but honestly, I can’t keep up. I hope readers will see and appreciate our beautiful culture and faith. And I hope that my love and pride in my Greek heritage shines through.

Thanks so much to W.W.W. for this opportunity. I’m honored to be among so many talented women writers, and incredibly humbled to be featured.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m a writer, a daughter, a wife, a mom, and proud Hellene.

I took a rather roundabout route to celebrating all things Greek.

My father was born and raised in Pyrgos, Ilias, and my Greek American mother is from Chicago (her roots are in Tegea and Steno, Arkadia). I was baptized in Greece, which I truly believe is what’s brought me here, to WindyCity Greek. My parents say it’s definitely the“Elliniko ladi!

I grew up in the quintessential Greek diner, learning many important life lessons from the kitchen and behind the counter.

When I was five, my father decreed that we would no longer speak Greek at home because he needed to learn how to speak English. My siblings and I forgot our Greek. Mom didn’t drive, so there was no Greek school, Sunday school, or regular church attendance for us. Our affinity for anything Greek was quickly diluted. One day, at university, I had an epiphany: I’m Greek, but I didn’t really know what that meant. So, after completing my MBA, I went to Greek school, and began to pull the language from the archives of my mind. I traveled to Greece regularly. My passion for all things Greek was ignited. But after all, it was “Greek ladi” fueled, right? When I became a writer (having previously worked in marketing) I channeled my celebration of all things Greek into a career. My Greek American husband and our daughters share my passion for all things Greek.

I love to cook and explore the world of food (especially Greek–I learned from Dad and Yia Yia. Dad says my pastitsio is “best ever!”, and I have Yia Yia’s kourambiedes and koulourakia down perfectly, if I do say so myself.) To go with all that great food, let me not forget my appreciation for good wine. My current favorite is Xinomavro, but a nice Assyrtiko on a hot summer day transports me to Santorini.

For ten years, I served as Associate Editor and Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. I’ve contributed to three books:Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes, Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook, and I chronicled my maternal grandfather’s arrival in America in the premiere edition of Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal. From 2002 until 2015, I was a featured writer at GreekCircle magazine. My work has also been published in The National Herald, USAGreekReporter.com, Harlots’ Sauce Radio (Bring the Marbles Home – Once and For All; You Did Not Just Say That!), KRHTH magazine, NEO Magazine, andWomen.Who.Write. (My Dad: Reflections, Lessons, Love…and Celebration; Time to Forgive My Mother), and more. At From the Mommy Files…, I explore the highs and lows of life as a parent. I’m also co-director of Chicago’s Greek Media Club, and a stalwart advocate of Greek Orthodox parochial schools. (Five of the USA’s twenty-five such schools are right here in Chicago).

I’m also a past president of Hellenic Professional Society of Illinois. For eight years, I performed with the Olympian Greek Dance Troupe of Chicago and served on the board of directors. During that time, I was actively involved in organizing the Metropolis of Chicago Young Adult League conferences.

Currently, I’m an officer on the St. Demetrios Pythagoras School Board and media sector rep for Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY). I teach singing and movement to kids at The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios’ annual Vacation Church School.  All this while also being caregiver to my elderly parents, and pursuing my writing career.

 

<<MEET THE AUTHOR SEPTEMBER 8 !!!>>

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Join us as we celebrate the publishing accomplishments of Michelle Cox, Maria  Karamitsos, Iris Waichler, Emily Paster,  and Ruth Kaufman. Evening will include refreshments, meet and greet with the authors, and panel discussion.

TO RSVP visit our Facebook Event Page:  An Evening With Women Who Write. 

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