The above quote (see item #4 below) is from my recent interview with the Boston Authors Club, an organization (founded in 1886) to which I belong. My complete interview with the Boston Authors Club is here.
Read about the Boston Authors Club and its history.
Have you been surprised by any questions and comments that have come up in your book talks and discussions about your new book, Green Card & Other Essays?
There have been four big surprises:
How connected my American audience members feel to their own immigrant heritage. Even when it’s someone’s great grandfather who landed here, it’s more than just an old or static story. Rather, that long-ago journey seems to inform these folks’ present-day identity and 21st-century lives.
The number of folks who have told me: “All these years I’ve known you and I never thought of you as an immigrant; like, I never thought that you, too, had to work low-wage jobs and go through all that legalization stuff.” This one harkens back to that issue in Question 1. We sometimes assume only those who are victims of our current broken immigration policies actually care. Or that someone like me will have become neutral or smug in the face of human rights violations against families. But I take all these anti-immigrant rhetoric and atrocities very personally—on my own behalf and on behalf of those who don’t have a pen or a pulpit to speak out.
The third surprise has been how effective Ireland has been at re-casting and re-branding itself as a modern, socially progressive country. These days I get few or no audience questions fueled by the heretofore Irish stereotypes. Phew! It’s so much easier to chat about our lives and our nationhood when there’s a shared and more accurate understanding of those nations.
I speak very softly, so I watch the surprise on folks’ faces when I turn strident about the wellness or self-empowerment benefits of writing. Even at book events, I turn all evangelical as I urge beginner or hesitant writers to go home and start writing down their own truths.