Distance is the inspiration‘s best hearting. ~ E. Marshall
At the age of twenty-two, when in Romania, I entered a study-abroad program that required a sponsor. My cousin Luminita, who’d been living in the U.S. with her family for many years, signed on the dotted line, and a couple of months later she snapped one of my first pictures on these shores (see above).
Arriving in a new country can be exciting and scary all at once, but the multitude of nationalities here in Los Angeles, of languages spoken, made me feel welcome. I was not, I felt, the only one struggling.
Before long, however, I became aware of the tensions this multitude holds. Every country has its problems, but the issues sparked by an often problematic cultural pluralism were new for me.
Much of this tension concerned the Hispanic community — there was, I thought, a certain barrier, I don’t know, perhaps a clear refusal to understand one another. Or so it looked to me. Still does, sometimes.
How This Pertains to the Story
In Stranger or Friend, Zoe Sinclair is exposed to exactly such tension when she returns home. It is the friction caused by outsiders, or viewed by a handful of people as being caused by them, that leads to the big conflict.
Much of this reflects my observations from those early days, a time full of hope and dread and joy and so many questions. As my blog tagline says … life is a story, might as well write it.
~ Tomorrow’s post: B is for Beauty. I hope to see you then.