Ghana, Jacqueline Woodson, New York discussed on 1A



Com slash safety. Hi I'm a new Rhody and I am the new host of NPR's Ted Radio Hour. I am so excited because we are working on. A bunch of new amazing episodes were exploring big ideas about reinvention making amends and the psychological effects of climate change our first show drops March thirteenth. Please join me. This is one A. Returning now to our conversation with Jacqueline Woodson and her year of return experiences Jacqueline you write about how you experienced a kind of double consciousness. While they're belonging at at the same time not belonging and I think you started to allude to this a little bit a minute or two ago. What does that feel like to you is is that feeling? That that you feel can be reconciled. Yes I think it is. I think it is feeling I have here in this country right. I am of this place you know I. I'm from this place but I really I'm in this place but my I of this place I don't know I'm very American in so many ways and in so many ways. Not You know the same with New York. I grew up in the south until I was seven. And so those imprinting years. I'm very southern so I feel kind of outside in New York all the time and so getting to Ghana and seeing everyone who is my complexion Or darker or a slightly lighter Walking like ideal you know our language the way we speak is different but the openness is the same feeling very southern to me And then it not being my place. Right it. It's kind of For me in the end it did feel like yes. This this is this is how I will always walk the world and yeah in more than one place. Talk a little bit more about that. That two feet in two places or feet in multiple places feeling because it's fascinating you know it's a it's a it's it's at once Kind of A. It's a gift right when you look at it. Positively if I didn't have feet in so many world I wouldn't have been able to write thirty two books. I mean you know it's it's kind of it. It's what bills empathy is how we begin to understand And at the same time I do wonder what it would be like to exist solely in one place in one body as one being and that's never been the case for me So so going to Africa. I didn't go to Ghana. I didn't feel like I was going to be completely outside of simply by the color of my skin I knew that some part of me was going to have a belonging there But I didn't know that I would at the same time feel This outsider ness and where the outsider would play out. It played out You know of course in economics. It played out in language. I feel like I can't I played out. I moved differently than a lot of African women even though my daughter moves like the African women so that was all very interesting to me. Will you said that there isn't enough space in the New York? Times travel section to to capture the enormity of this experience. I hope we've gotten closer in this time we've spent together On the air. But if you could go down a road that you haven't explored yet in writing about your trip to Ghana or your children's experience or your experience with your partner I don't know of. What do you think that would be I think I would. I would want to go down the road of my children who identify as black and biracial right. You know. They always say we're black and Biracial to to make sure both of those parts of themselves are are acknowledged. And what does it mean to be black and Biracial in Ghana What it mean to be completely immersed in an African culture for say five years ten years. What would that look like for them? I think there are so many roads and I also think I want to hear other voices I wanNA. There's so much room to write about this to write about our experiences. As African Americans Caribbean Americans and as Africans So so I have the roads that I would like to explore but I also am always so interested in the voices of other writers telling these stories. We've talked on this show before about how American journalistic views of Africa can be so very narrow you mentioned before the idea that Africa's one thing of course it isn't. This sounds like an opportunity to broaden that perspective make it even more granular than before to get more voices talking about the personal experiences visiting Africa exactly. Well we talked a little bit earlier about what you really wanted to get out of. This trip was some truth. I I suppose that's what writers are always looking for whether they're fiction or nonfiction writers. At least I hope so. I think the truth ultimately is what you're looking for do you. Do you think you got it. I think I got some of the truth. I think there are many of them and I think each time I go back. I'll get some more but for me. I feel like the truth that I got was that I am of that place to and And that matters that that I can go there. And and even with the sense of belonging I felt to also feel that sense of belonging and next time to go and explore what that truth means and how that truth manifest with more time there with knowing more people with doing more stuff So yeah you're it's you know I think as writers we're constantly searching for the truth that matter to us and by extension matter to a greater good in a bigger world and I'm I'm at the beginning of him and I think sometimes that that sense of belonging that you get a little bit of a sense of your first time you go to a place that can give way to a sense of longing to go back and be part of it and maybe that's in your future to Jacqueline Woodson author of Brown girl dreaming and read at the Bone Jacqueline. What a pleasure. Thank you for joining us. Thank you.

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