I grew up in the United Kingdom, the country of almost all my emotions, and to this day dislike frontal questions about ‘me’.
Almost all, I say, because I was born in Addis Ababa in the highlands of Ethiopia, a country which is a paradise, the native place of all my people. Very rich in everything which forms the heart (as are all civilizations). And how could it not form a part of mine?
I was taken to India when I was eight months old shortly after her independence. And have lived there twice again. Very great riches she has given me as she gives all the world.
I have lived in the United States for many years and would say that my work habits are entirely American but probably not much else.
I don’t anguish much about what I am because what matters most is what we do or do not do with what we are.
Cultures do not reduce to each other and the values of one are often in conflict with the values of another to suspend a whole life in ambiguity, anxiety and pain. They resolve the problems of our lives in different ways. Very hard decisions have to be taken between cultures sometimes.
That is all that can be said about them.
I decided when I was 10 that I would make the English language my home. I love it, its histories and am so glad of its futures. It has given me vast safe haven and very potent arms. History, present and futures. Universes of understanding and imagination.
I love French, too; but, as with all things French from the Anglo viewpoint, the love is a rich complication.
I know that every culture is a treasury and so I am a very lucky girl that I have had more than a passing glimpse of so many.
I am happy wherever English is spoken and understood. As on this blog which represents just a few moments of my life.
And I have had and have, despite all confounding and hard and bitter realities, despite that Death, hovering always there in the anteroom, intrudes from time to time to lead away someone whom I love…. I have had and have, all things weighed, a wonderful life.