Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Writing and Place: My Guest Blog

So, after having two guest posts here about writing and where you are, and how the two mix, I've finally written my thoughts on how it was to move countries and what that has done to my words, over at  Petina Gappah's excellent blog. An extract:
So we moved, with our two cats (who are now, sadly and cruelly, in quarantine), two months ago. And that is when the culture shock hit. Yes, I had been back often on holiday. But something shifted inside me, knowing that this wasn't a short trip, and I found that I couldn't get through a whole sentence in English without stopping to search for a word. After 15 years, there were gaps in my English that I would have filled in in Hebrew. (I like to think this bilingualism made my fiction more "innovative"!)
Read the rest of the post here I would love to hear thoughts from other "aliens" in their own homes!


Rachel Fenton said...

I think it's particularly interesting when (as in your return to the UK) your "alien - ness" is less obvious. I guess that when you look and sound the part but still don't fit in, you have no option but to write!

I really enjoyed reading this.

I have returned from a remote wee place where I left quite a few stunned store keepers/cafe staff in my wake!

Difference: it's all good.

Tania Hershman said...

would you like to write a guest blog post for me here as part of the Writing&Place series? I'd love to hear more! Yes, difference is all good.

Rachel Fenton said...

Um - eek - ok!

Rachel Fenton said...

Meant to leave my email!

Ruth said...

Hi Tania,
Just wanted to say I love your book The White Road and Other Stories. It's brilliant. I read it in one sitting, which I know isn't in the spirit of it, but now I am reading it again slowly and absorbing! I started writing a year ago and somehow now find myself doing the MA at Lancaster - I write poetry and short fiction, also do a bit of art incidentally, and your writing is so inspiring at the moment. So thanks! Isn't this age of blogging wonderful - you can just tell people you like their writing without long sychophantic letters!
Looking forward to reading whatever you do next!

Tania Hershman said...

I'll email you.

Ruth, lovely to meet you! And thank you so so much for your kind words about The White Road, that means a great deal to me. To be honest, I'm looking forward to reading what I do next...it might be a while! In the meantime, there are some links on the right side of this blog to some of my newer stories, if you fancy it. I hope your MA is going really well, I was in Lancaster last week for the Lit Fest, what a lovely place!

kate brown said...

Oh, I know just how you feel. I moved from London to Amsterdam ten years ago. I didn't speak a word of Dutch and like you, I threw myself in. I'm a filmmaker, and I was really proud of myself when I directed a film in Dutch after two years here. But I wrote the screenplay in English, then it was translated into Dutch for me direct. And that is they way it will always be. I write my scripts in my mother tongue and then they are transformed. Actually, it works a lot better than I ever imagined it would. But it leaves me in a very odd linguistic space and I ended up taking time out from film to write a novel because I needed to reestablish a bond with the English language, which is essentially the language of my imagination.

Day to day, I stumble looking for words in both languages. My English grammar is awful. I talk too much when I'm back in England as well. Still, I can't imagine moving back, and strangely enough it looks as if the next move is going to be to another language, to Berlin, and German, this time. As I live with a Dutchman and we have a bilingual daughter who will rapidly master a third language, I've no idea what this will do. A linguistic triangle. I expect I'll just get even more confused, but I'm kind of hoping that a new element might create a new and different space. Who knows?