“…we have to grope our way through so much filth and rubbish in order to reach home! And we have no one to show us the way. Homesickness is our only guide.”-Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse
As a self-proclaimed hyphenated spirit, I’ve dedicated my life to exploring what it means to be home. Growing up in Turkey and living in Europe and the U.S. have brought me closer to finding an answer to the complex question of home. Or so I thought.
In his essay, “Minimal Selves” (1987), Stuart Hall writes that every migrant is accustomed to two questions: “Why are you here?” and “When are you going back home?” The answer to the first question comes easily: for education? to better my life? political asylum?… what have you. The second question, however, is a turning point in every migrant’s life because the migrant, possibly for the first time, confronts the fact that there is no answer to it. “Migration,” Hall writes, “is a one way trip. There is no ‘home’ to go back to” (44).
I would also add: once one leaves, there is no home to go back to even if one returns.
This complex notion of home is the point of departure for my research on diaspora literature. I’m beyond excited about my research and the cultural and sociopolitical possibilities that it opens up. But I want my posts here to be concise and explorative. I want theory and research to be accessible and meaningful. My hope is to bridge the gap between theory and popular discourse and to offer insight into the powerful connection between fiction and truth.
I read and write to make meaning of the past, present, and the future. I always have. I grew up reading such geniuses as Ömer Seyfettin, Louisa May Alcott, Eleanor H. Porter, Jules Verne, and Evliya Çelebi. I then got on a path which led me to the Midwest, where I did a PhD in contemporary global anglophone literature. On RUOT, I will be writing reflections, focusing on all the wonderful books that are helping me shift my perception about what it means to belong in an increasingly fractured world.
(Maybe a few posts about my cat Vivi and Ofi too)
(You’re right. I’m joking)
You can connect with me and my cats Vivi and Ofi who have basically taken over my book archive page on Instagram: @readingundertheolivetree
What is it about the olive tree?
The title of my page is inspired by my upbringing. Although I grew up in the city, my grandparents had a summer house right across Greece in the beautiful Aegean. Starting at the age of six, I spent every summer in the sun by the sea among olive trees. I am thirty-one now as I write this blurb, and this tradition hasn’t changed at all. In fact, last summer I spent my mornings reading and writing at a cozy coffee shop outside under the shade of olive and fig trees. The sun, the sea, the smell of thyme and oregano, grapevines, and olive trees all remind me of home, well, … all are home.
Feel free to drop me a line, say hi, and/or share your thoughts–I’m enjoying the wonderful discussions I’ve been having with other readers and writers here!