Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Friday, May 11, 2012

LANGUAGE> PLACE> BLOG CARNIVAL #15: ENCOUNTERING THE OTHER





I am delighted to be hosting and editing #15 of the Language Place Blog Carnival on the theme of Encountering the Other.


THE STRANGE AND THE FAMILIAR
Encountering the ‘OTHER’

What is the ‘Other’? In its simplest sense, anyone or anything that is not ‘you’ is the ‘other’.  So the alienation begins.  Since the other is alien, there is a separateness, and a rejection between the two. At the same time, the attempt is towards assimilation, you want to change the other to become more like you. You may do this by employing the processes of love and care, but also making clear that you are superior in your difference, the other must become more like you. If this does not happen through positive efforts, you  reject and try to remove the other, for as long as there is the other, you have to be assertive as the better one. The rejection also may be a rejection of your own self if you recognize much of this in the other.

There are therefore many forms of ‘other’. In language and place, everything about  the other attracts and repels, but its existence is evident, its pull even more so. That is why we travel, why we seek a certain novelty, why we embrace or get repelled by what we see, hear or fail to understand. We may often find ourselves more at home with the others. The concept of the other has entered the realms of philosophy, gender, race, fantasy and sci-fi, politics and power, among others.

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Garcin, in the play Huis clos or No Exit, states that "Hell is other people."  But according to Lacan, “The I is always in the field of the Other.”

In these times of globalization, when everything can get quite up close and personal, 23 individuals share with us their idea of the ‘Other’. Welcome aboard, and take the trip!


1. TRAVEL AND REVELATIONS

WEST TO EAST AND BACK 
Narayana Swamy from Detroit, USA,  travels across the land to discover ‘An Indian in the Hills’ and a surreal connection.
 He felt his hearing grow very keen, picking up subtle nuances in the guttural singing- peculiar vibratos and surreal harmonies. The song blended into the plume of sage smoke and began to encircle him. It all felt so natural and so familiar.
Read more here. 

HONG KONG TO JAPAN
This haunting tale of a young married couple dizzyingly in love portrays tradition and culture that value love, honour, duty. To these three qualities is added death. Leela Devi Paniker from Hong Kong has often travelled to Japan, and  now she makes another journey via a book, ‘Patriotism’ by Yukio Mishima, to get a deeper understanding of this ‘other’ culture where taking one’s life to maintain one’s personal or family honour is a long standing tradition. More here

INDIA TO GHANA
The arrival a warm gush of heat, nothing in the head but new. Neelima Vinod writes from Bengaluru, India of meeting a part of yourself as you travel,  the seed of the many kinds of you in various continents. The you then is malleable and  unstructured, here. 

NEW JERSEY TO MAUI
What strange and mysterious forces combine to call one to travel 6,000 miles in order to discover home? Rich Perrotti recalls the unusual ‘coincidences’ that sent him to Maui twelve years ago and once again invite him to return to his ‘other home’.
While sitting in this volcanic arena of beauty and wonder, I penned the words, ‘My heart lives here always.’

BENGALURU TO KUDUTAI
Seeing the beauty of Kudutai, I now understand what my own parents and elders still mourn. I also see that it is no unspoilt paradise.
Monideepa Sahu, city dweller forever, reflects from Bengaluru, India, on crumbling ancestral habitats. Read here. 




2. DIFFERENT AND SAME

 NOT SYMPATHY, BUT EMPATHY
We found just a small blood clot that was pressing on the spinal cord and causing the paralysis. Dr. Vivek Banerjee from Saharanpur, India, shares his personal story, of what he felt when he found himself  on the other side of healing, as a patient instead of a doctor. Read it all here

NOT STUPID, JUST POOR
Vaibhav Rathi from Jaipur, India,  posts a memory of his 3 day long stay in ‘Bujari’, a place lost among Arawali Hills in Southern Udaipur. Read the rest of his recollections here, spiced with his pithy musings, climbing up is pain in the ass for lungs, climbing down is pain in the ass for legs. 

 A DIFFERENT COLOUR
Manjul Bajaj from New Delhi , in this astounding tale, shares, No longer is the fair land of Equus the same. A black horse roves at will in its midst, here.

ACTUALLY THE SAME
The colors of the flame emanating from your pyre/would be the same as mine. Meenakshi M. Singh from New Delhi declares through her poem that there is no other-ness. Read it here.




3. BORDERLINES

 ANOTHER ‘I’
Dorothee Lang  from Germany talks of duality of place, perspective, and being. ‘Walking back, I followed my own trails for a while, and couldn’t help but wonder how it would have been to grow up here, on this island, surrounded by water. She would have been another I, that much was sure.’ It’s here.

ISOLATION
The grey sky, the cold wind, the stream of bad news on the radio. I scrutinised my difference, tried to isolate what it was that made me so. Nine writes from Kuala Lumpur on the confusion of being young and bi-sexual  in Ireland, here.

APHASIA
In her poem, Uma Gowrishankar from Chennai, attempt to use language to negotiate the border of sanity, where aphasia prevails. The word is stuck in his throat, thankful of its presence there. Read the poem here.

NATIVE OUTSIDER
That was when we gave up trying to become one of them - any of them, that is. Zephyr from New Delhi, India, on Metro Returned Natives. To know more about what this means,  read her experience here.




4. LANGUAGE

FINDING A LOCATION
The ‘other’ in place and language pre-supposes that place and language are located. To me they are not. Amandeep Sandhu from New Delhi  writes on why he does not know what his mother tongue is. He also cannot claim  that he belongs to a certain place. He writes about his struggle with language(s) and place(s), here.

UNSTRUCTURED  FORM
For Shobha Nihalani, who writes from  Hong Kong, and for whom writing is a passionate process, poetry becomes the alien form she cannot bring to her mercy. She says: Alas, I cannot write the damned thing.  Does she find a way? More here

GAFFES AND ERRORS
He stood over me, not quite ready to punch me, and I had no idea why. Gill Hoffs of Ayr, UK, struggles with language to understand its interpretation in different parts of a similar world. A beast is not a just an animal, she finds, here.

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE
‘Achtung baby,’ you keep saying, like it means something. But you still haven’t learned my language. Michelle Elvy from Opua, New Zealand,  speaks of a love story of sorts, here. 

A SUPERFICIAL SCRIPT
‘I won’t write this on my garage wall, Manohar.’ Mr. Abbas whined like a reluctant child being sent to school. ‘And I won’t go to the new house in London.’ Nabina Das, currently at Stirling, UK, writes a touching tale about a retired bureaucrat called Mr Abbas who learns a few home truths. Read the story here.

5. TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE

ALIEN TURTLE MIND
It seemed as if we had met and befriended another member of an alien order just arrived on Earth...Rosemary Lombard, from Hillsboro, Oregon, USA, explores the potential of turtle minds, as a wild painted turtle stays overnight to communicate with her in non verbal ways, here

 STONE, RIVER  AND SOME DREAMS
Now I know why the steps are stone/they have to be there for ever. Sangeeta Khanna from New Delhi, says, ‘The stones is me and the river is seen as the other who just comes and stirs up the emotions for a short while.’
Read her poem here.  She also talks about the other world of dreams, here.

A PULL FROM THE OTHER SIDE
I don’t want to. It’s nice and peaceful, what do I have to live for on the other side? The protagonist in Ankit Govil’s flash piece wonders if he should return to the real world. Read it here.

A CHURCH AND GHOSTS
Glimpse the shadow of a rain cloud when there is empty sky, shaped like a young girl in a pleated frock. Martin Porter from U.K. creates an elegiac poem here. He says,  ‘I am aware that our understanding of our place in the multiverse is constantly changing, almost as if I am a ghost inhabiting a world existing as one of many.’ 

PAST LIFE AND DARK OF ANOTHER LAND
I watch as you talk of Karma/ How we are reborn/ Time and again, connecting/ With those we leave. Abha Iyengar’s poems and thoughts on the Other, here.


I could not let the turtle go, however hard I tried. So here s/he is:


“...and dream the earth into a turtle.
She carries us slowly across the universe.”

~Ride the Turtle's Back by Beth Brant







Announcements
The person behind the blog carnival  idea is Dorothee Lang, a writer, web freelancer and traveler, and the editor of BluePrintReview. She lives in Germany, and always was fascinated by languages, roads and the world, themes that reflect in her own work. 
Thank you, Dorothee, for making the merry-go-round  happen.
And all you lovely readers, thank you for visiting. If you are interested in contributing for the next edition, Edition #16 will be hosted by visual artist and Florida resident Steve Wing. His art seeks to reveal extraordinary qualities of everyday moment. The feature theme is 'Translation' (in all its possible forms). Contributions are invited from writers, photographers, poets, translators, and anyone with an interest in his topic. As always, we welcome a wide variety of poets. Guidelines here.

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10 comments:

  1. Thank you Abha! Loved the collection :)

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  2. Good one...
    http://www.gujaratonnet.com

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  3. Just getting here at the end of this week. Late to the party but glad to be here nonetheless. Love the way you've organised all this, Abha. Looks terrific, visually and thematically. Thank you!

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  4. Thank you so much, Michelle, for appreciating!Glad to have you as a part of this.

    Warm regards,
    Abha

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  5. Dear Abha, i just revisited the edition - i wrote it to you already, but wanted to add this post and say it again: it’s wonderful! so many powerful contributions and layers to the “Other”. thanks so much for piecing it all together. i look forward to going through the contributions step by step.

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  6. Dear Dorothee,
    Thank you so much! I am intensely happy with the contributions from old and new friends and the kind of synergy that kind of happened when I began to put all of this together.

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  7. nice opinion.. thanks for posting.

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