I never think of
As if I own it
I’m here, now
Where are you from?
wherever I’m currently living
– Narrabundah (Australia)
– Nairobi (Kenya)
No, but where are you really from?
As if that will “place” me
Do I detect a U.S. accent?
Where are you from in the U.S.?
My (unspoken) reply:
How much time do you have?
Do you really want to know my life story?
All the places I’ve lived and worked
Is this my identity?
In my previous post, I said that the posts on this blog would be about the process of researching, writing and rewriting a novel that is and is not the story of my father’s life.
Change of plan.
Instead of presenting myself as a writer, for the next few blogs, let me share some thoughts as a reader.
Some years ago, when I knew I was headed to Pakistan, I tried to read everything about Partition* through novels. Novels written by Muslims, Christians, Hindus, non-believers. Novels written from the Pakistan side, from the Indian side, from the time just before, during and after Partition.
* Note on Partition: the division of the Asian Sub-Continent by the British in 1947, which created India and Pakistan. Partition forcibly displaced over 14 million people on religious lines. The violence of Partition created hostility between India and Pakistan that continues today as an ongoing deeply felt trauma.
To find out about history, culture, values, peoples, heroes and villains of the different countries where I’ve lived and worked, I go to novels.
Why fiction? Because a different truth lies in stories where point of view is acknowledged. Readers can draw their own conclusions and think about what happened or might have happened.
Novels bring us into a different reality. That was always true for me. As a girl growing up in a rather boring Midwestern town in the USA, I read novels constantly. Even after bedtime, under the bed covers, with the aid of a flashlight. Was I trying to escape or to learn? Probably both.
Currently my reading is dominated by the place where I live, that is, Australia. I hear about books and authors interviewed on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio National.
This is me with my Radio National umbrella. Kangaroos in the background so you know this is Australia.
The next blogs will be about my reaction to books I heard about on the radio and then requested online at my local public library.
Do you think novels have more profound truth that non-fiction?
Where do you go for information about a country or culture where you may be visiting or living?
How do you find out about books you might want to read?