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Of being able to take a new direction at any moment


In times of crisis, hope and optimism play a central role. It is therefore not surprising that these topics are currently being discussed in various formats - two examples are the Sternstunde Philosophie contribution with ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger or "The Book of Hope" by naturalist and behavioral scientist Jane Goodall. When I pick up Jane Goodall's book at Orell Füssli in Basel, I also see Dan Shambicco's poster advertising his newly published anthology "Hotel Poetry". After briefly researching him and his work - he has published five of his own editions and acted as editor for several other books - I realize that the themes of hope and optimism also play a major role in his work.

Who is Dan Shambicco and what drives him to write and publish books alongside his full-time job in education?

"I am interested in the big themes of life, such as love, health, hope, the relationships with oneself and others. Where real encounters take place, that's where life happens and that's what I want to write about. I also want to encourage others, mainly young people, to step out of their comfort zone, allow new perspectives and be open and compassionate towards themselves and others."

How did writing become one of the most important parts of your life?

"I started writing poems in my notebook when I was at school - just for myself. I already had the basic sense of trust in myself to continue because it gave me so much pleasure and still does. So, more or less over time, I was able to make important contacts in the industry and eventually publish myself. And because poetry has long been my constant companion, I wanted to publish inspiring poems and short prose texts to show that poetry can be fun."

So your work is closely linked to your work in education?

"Yes, definitely. I want to show young people that you can achieve a lot if you believe in it. Of course, you also need people around you who provide you the opportunities and support you. But basically, I want to encourage young people to keep an open mind and just go for it."

In the opening text of "Hotel Poetry", you say that the anthology is a project close to your heart. Why is that?

"The aim is to make poetry more accessible. If it comes in a language that many people have access to, then that opens up a lot of scope. The best gift is to create a connection with the audience and, for example, to see after a reading how what has just been discussed is received and how this opens up new worlds of feeling. In "Hotel Poetry", for example, every text is also a window into a new world and emotions. These are probably my biggest motivating factors: creating connections and inspiring new perspectives in order to give something back."

You seem very balanced and have often mentioned how grateful you are for the life you lead. What encourages you to maintain this attitude even in times of crisis?

"Facing life with hope and optimism is a practice. Of course, immediate crises are extremely difficult to go through. However, my experience has shown that time heals almost everything. The time dimension not only allows you to gain distance but also to make new and hopefully better decisions based on what you have learned."

So the crisis should also be seen as an opportunity?

"Perhaps yes. But in any case, the crisis is simply a turning point. It means you can decide which direction to take, what is important to you now and where you have to let go. Because in the end, everything is optional."

What do you mean by that?

"There are rarely occasions in life where you are coerced into doing x or z . In the vast majority of cases, we find ourselves in this large gray area where we have much more leeway than we usually think. That's why it's important to remember that you can take a new direction at any moment. That's very hopeful, because I can have a positive influence on my life and my future."

That is indeed hopeful. Thank you, Dan, for the inspiring and enriching conversation!

Interview led by Q.U.I.C.H.E.