What are some of the challenges you faced working at home during this time?

The biggest challenge is balancing my work as a writer and supporting and organising the team of professionals who work with me, who are currently in smart working mode. Taking advantage of the most advanced IT technological skills, I’m able to communicate regularly with my collaborators, to release television, radio and press interviews. On top of that, I keep in touch with my readers using social media feeding them with the good values that we wholeheartedly share. This is Geronimo’s mission! Sending messages of hope in difficult times.

[Elisabetta Dami: from telling stories in children’s hospitals to bestselling author]

How difficult has it been to adjust to this new reality?

I’m still facing a number of technical issues, and many unexpected due to the present trying situation. Lines are overcharged, with frequent slowdowns of the Wi-Fi connection: everybody is now relying on the web to work from home, to attend school classes, to shop, to follow the news, and also to keep in touch with friends and families.

From a professional point of view, many organisations were not ready for smart working. Not only from the technical point of view.

Communicating via social media professionally is remarkably different: there are new rules to respect, even a new ‘etiquette’ to follow. I had to adapt very rapidly to this new reality: and once more, I found that Geronimo good values, like teaming up, and collaborating, can be a powerful tool in the present difficult moments.

How are you spending time? Favourite activities?

I live alone, but never feel lonely: my profession as a writer keeps me company… it allowed me to become the mother of millions of boys and girls worldwide. Reading books, too, keep me company…  and as for real close friends, they call me every day, to check that I’m fine, reassuring me of their affection!

My life is very intense, even in this special period. May I say that I’m even working more than before! I spend most of my day communicating educational messages of hope to all children, giving interviews to the media...

Apart from this, I love nature, and I respect it, therefore… on my little balcony, I created a vegetable garden where I grow organic vegetables and fruits, zero miles products!

Being a marathon runner, I also exercise daily, following the WHO indications. Even at home, I keep fit and walk on my treadmill. My diet is healthy, with fruit and vegetables!

What are you doing to manage the anxiety that is stemming from the pandemic?

This delicate moment requires discipline and, may I say particularly, self-discipline on a personal and public level, organisation and method, logic and clarity, moral strength and resilience, solidarity and self-sacrifice, and never give up. We must be strong, for us and the people we love! Let’s keep focused on the beautiful side of life, concentrating on the half-full glass, not the half-empty one! Let’s trust our government, following the safety rules, we all have the personal and collective responsibility now! If we all collaborate, everything will go back to normal soon! May I remind all children to wash hands with soap and water, respect the one-meter rule safety distance and do not go out unless really necessary! I keep focusing mainly on my work, which I deeply love and involves all my mind and heart.

What are some of the things you miss the most from your life when Covid-19 had still not affected us?

I really miss the contact with nature and my adventurous travels, which inspired me and many of my stories. I also miss spending time with friends, and sharing values and projects with them.

What will be the first thing you’d like to do once this scare of Covid-19 is over?

I miss deep in my heart to walk in the woods, hugging a tree… but also walk on the seashore, breathing the salty smell of the sea in the air… and stare at the blue sky above my head! I can’t wait to meet my friends in person, sharing the unforgettable memories of this special moment, that made us aware how important it is to be a loving community!

What have you learnt about yourself during this trying time?

This difficult situation helped me to become aware of my limits, but also discover many new hidden resources. I am blessed to be very easy to adapt to new situations. I learnt this over the years during my most adventurous travels. In the past, as I often tell the kids, I also attended a Survival Course, from which I learned great lessons, which I put into practice in this specific situation. In particular, never giving up, being resilient, and always looking for creative solutions.

Being disciplined and organised facilitated me in managing this unexpected emergency. I believe even more strongly in facing all problems together, counting on friends and collaborators! We must be strong, for us and the people we love, humanity is a big family! And if we all collaborate, everything will soon be resolved, and will return to normal! Finally, last but not least, the sense of humour has helped me a lot! A smile will save us all!

What will be your favourite memory from this experience?

I will never forget the almost unreal silence that reigns everywhere, especially in Milan that has been hit hard by the Covid-19 emergency. Sometimes only the ambulance sirens are heard. Every time I hear an ambulance siren, I send a loving thought to the patient who is suffering and certainly feeling lonely, and to his family, who cannot follow him to the hospital… but also and above all to the many doctors and nurses who, daringly, with dedication and sense of duty, are risking daily their lives to help our community! The Geronimo Stilton Foundation, of which I’m the president, supports the Italian Civil Protection in this Covid-19 emergency. We already donated medical emergency devices, such as a ventilator, to a hospital in Milan and also funded scientific research at local Institutes.

One lesson you think the world should remember from this experience.

Never take anything for granted. Whether it’s small everyday things, such as shopping freely or walking in the park, or most intimate aspects of our lives, like hugging the people we love, our family members, our friends, we are finally acknowledging that everything is a gift in life… and gratitude is important! Normality is a privilege, and a true blessing, and for this we should always be grateful!

Any book(s) you are reading at this time?

A classic but always special book that is always in my heart is The little Prince, and I just read it one more time! The author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, invites us to focus on what really matters in life.

But, as a passionate reader, many new books are on my desk: books for adults and children, history books but also fantasy stories, books for learning but also for dreaming, books by Italian but also foreign authors, books with stories of animals but also of people, short books and long books, books by recent but also classic authors, because I truly love to read, and every book is a window on the world, which allows us to travel freely on the wings of fantasy!

Books make us free, even when we cannot go out... they are a powerful bridge that connects us to friends even when they are away from us.

So may I say: thank you, books!

I hope to see you all again soon, in your beautiful country, UAE, that I love so much!

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