“Everywhere I go belongs to other people.”
from “Somewhere borrowed, somewhere blue” by Ayesha Chatterjee
Roots, Identity, and Belonging
Andreas and Kirti welcomed everyone to our event. It is our aim to make each Library Voices event a discussion and an opportunity to meet new people. We then met in randomly arranged small zoom groups to gather ideas about what exactly the word ROOTS means to us.
ROOTS - a feeling - a silent, stabilizing confidence-builder - a way to make sense of the world we interact with.
ROOTS - burst into our awareness when we transplant ourselves.
Words like ‘uprooted,’ ‘putting down roots’, and ‘fertile soil’ suddenly resonate explosively. Muddling along, consumed by these eruptions of emotional turmoil, we test the new soil. Can roots be put down here? We try a tentative downward shoot - all the while sending out frantic side-runners - to reach across the divide and keep us connected - however tenuously - with our primary soil. Is this ‘just me’? - What a relief to find it isn’t! How nice to chat with others who feel the same way.
Its complexity - ROOTS - was vibrantly brought together in an electrifying performance by three collaborators who have found fertile soil (in Canada) and intertwined the roots of their individual disciplines. (their biographies follow)
Ayesha read from her work - including poems written during her years in Germany when she was a part of the International Library. These poems evoke the turmoil of roots - or is that, perhaps, the turmoil of feeling root-less.
David heard music in these poems. He captured their explosive complexity in a series of musical compositions - tone poems.
Karen sang in soaring soprano the intensity of what we often feel, but seldom say out loud.
Videos of the performances can be viewed on the library’s Youtube channel.
Small-group discussions provided a chance to react and reflect. This was followed by a plenary multique and a final closing performance:
“We carry our umbilical cords with us, coiled in our pockets for comfort.”
(From: The Clarity of Distance by Ayesha Chatterjee)
It was a wonderful afternoon.
Author: Marjorie Weiss