Posted by jerry on August 8th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Writing

I’ve been wrestling with an old novel idea that has come back to haunt me from my 1996 electronic archives. Discussing the concept (parallel worlds story) with an author acquaintance who seems hell bent on getting me to write this thing and publish it, I have come to reflect on my own sense of hybridity. The academic Jonathon Lamb once noted in a lecture a couple of years back that Horace (?) had said that travel makes us monstrous to our own kind. Whether it was Horace or someone else of the Classical era, they were right!

Not only are we irrevocably changed by our contact with another culture, but our return is rendered problematic. And not just our return to the country of origin, but the return a year later to the adoptive country is equally difficult, because the return ‘home’ means we also see the adoptive country once more as an outsider. In the novel idea I’ve been sketching out the heroine is precipitated into another world, where there are differences in culture, technology, approach to communication – many differences, and the difficulties she encounters in ‘reading’ the nuances of the new culture. But there will also be questions about her return – will she be welcomed back, having been ‘written off’ as a permanent departure, and what of her return when she gets to see her own culture as a stranger? Will her return be taken as a threat to the old world order?

What is clear is that the heroine will remain a hybrid in her own culture. As we all are in various ways, whether we move between classes, or just move to another state, or just learn to think differently – whatever the form the travel takes, the outcome seems inevitable – we are changed by our experience, and those around us notice our change and are unsure of their own reaction to that change.

So much for my musings on a Sunday evening!


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