What more enriching than opening up to a palette of languages and cultures?
Humanity, our home planet, blue gem of civilisations.
Why limiting ourselves to our own (and by this I imply the one imposed by our parents, family, nation) when we can access others so easily?
As a child, my favourite authors made me trek across the planet.
R.L Stevenson, Jack London, Sir Walter Scott, André Brink, Voltaire, Joseph Kessel and Jules Verne remain my top all time favourites… And the list is by no means exhaustive! Furthermore, Africa knocked on my door in my early teens and it made a profound impact.
As a learner, humanities – literature, languages, art, history and geography – have shaped my path of destiny.
Duality in cultures & homes – one inherited by birth, the other, chosen. (Interestingly enough, Kenneth White and I have “swapped” place of birth & chosen home. He left Scotland for France and I, the opposite.)
A trinity of twangs in my tongue and this avid curiosity to widen my horizons… Living and writing in the UK’s most northerly archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic makes my mind want to reach out in all directions. SSW, to the Scottish mainland & more southerly islands; NW to Iceland & Faroe, east to Scandinavia and west, towards Canada.
We share this young ocean, cultures and languages. Connecting with (notably) the bi-lingual Canadian sphere seems a natural progression. Hence my involvement with the Canadian Poetry Association.
Yet from childhood, travelling without moving has always been possible: as a reader, books act like long ships, computers, like star ships.
As a poet, this ability to write without (physically) travelling allows the mind to go adrift and exploit that rich palette of shores, sea spray, jungles, forests, civilisations in order to create a kaleidoscope of lanscapes through a distinctive view of the world. As a teenager, I learnt to appreciate this substantifique moelle and cultivate one’s (inner) garden.
And talking of gardens, this intellectual nomadism does not stop at neither distances nor artificial boundaries. Connecting with Lissa’s Australian world forged many bonds as well as an exciting project: Garden2Garden.
Such activities enable men to metaphorically tear their passports and elevate them to the real status: that of world citizens.