Saturday, September 04, 2010

Elif Shafak - identity politics

A friend - a New Zealander who has lived for decades in Spain and Turkey, and become fluent in three languages (¡Pués! ¿Donde está mi Aprende Gramatica Y Vocabulario?) - is reading The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shafak, and recommended this talk as an introduction to a remarkable writer.

Presumably to keep me occupied until she's finished, and lends me her copy.

Now resident in a third country - and an ex-patriate for half my adult life -I found plenty to think about here. Never mind the kids, let's hear it for us Third Culture Grown-Ups.

5. You live in the USA. Do you feel an immigrant or outsider, or do you feel committed with American history? How hard was it to do your creative writing directly in English?

It’s a bit ironic but my feeling of being an outsider, a latecomer, and a native-foreigner in Turkey subsided when I came to the USA where I am a foreigner. It is relatively easier to deal with “being a stranger in a strange land” than “being a stranger in your homeland”. Either way I have to deal with a sense of non-belonging and loss wherever I go. I am neither fully in Istanbul nor fully here in the USA. May be there is no such thing as being “fully rooted” for me.
In time I stopped asking myself where I belonged. I realized I belong to many places at the same time. According to the Islamic narrative there is a tree in heaven, which has no roots in the ground and instead has its roots where its branches are supposed to be. That’s how I feel. I have no roots in the ground but my roots are up in the air. It is in this sense that I am connected to both Turkey and the USA. Hague interview 2005

...... What oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed......

Excuse me. I'm just popping out to Casa del Libro.......

P.S. This way to Elif Shafak's website (Turkish and English).

P.P.S. Love the Intel ad at the end - Ha!

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