When we choose to see only the kindness, the goodness and the magnificence in others – that is what we will find. 

It’s a pity I’m blind today. I was born Lithuanian. I’m gonna die as one. Period.

I like beautiful stories telling me terrible things. I believe, stories have real power to embrace, to catch, to hold your attention and shape your way of thinking. We live in a storm of stories.

I’m Lithuanian. I happen to live in a bad neighborhood. I have all the reasons to despise, to hate my neighbor. There were only seven years when we lived in harmony. From the very our existence. There’s been battles for the thousands of years. Blood and tears, misunderstandings. And still I accept my neighbor. There lived a person once. She changed everything.

There are many poets who write in a very specific and extraordinary way, I like them. But there is one I adore. If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that’s her poetry. Anna Akhmatova. Her poetry is marvelous, intoxicating. It leaves you cracking in cold. She writes so beautifully. The inside of her mind must have been a terrible place.

She taught me to be proud of my history and culture, she understood the importance of it. I always wonder, do they sense it, these dead writers, when their books are read? Does a pinprick of light appear in their darkness? Is their soul stirred by the feather touch of another mind reading theirs? I do hope so. I do hope so.

Anna was oppressed by her own government. She went starving. Despised. Her beloved ones were imprisoned and brutally killed. And still she stood tall, she did not beg, she did not bow her head. That made all the difference, indeed. This woman was unique. Anna’s combat against ideological tyranny is formidable.

She had an immense influence on my education, on my way of thinking. It is something very intimate. You cannot learn it at schools or at universities. It is something you learn on your own. She worked like a builder – she built a state within me and suddenly I am not a shell anymore. I am the result of the combat of thousands. I am the result of the power of will of thousands. I am the result of the love of thousands.

Anna is long dead but she built me like an artist. And when the heartache comes, I’m ready. There is a fire burning in me. This blood in my veins. It’s boiling.