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Jhumpa Lahiri

Change and Betrayal

A final word from my short trip to New York. I mentioned that I had the honour of seeing Jhumpa Lahiri speak at the NYPL on west 42nd street near time square. The host and speaker was a man named Paul Holdengraber and he said something that has stuck with me since that evening.

“Every change necessitates a betrayal.”

He was quoting someone else and referring it to the conversation with Jhumpa, but to me those words were everything.

Thinking about the word betrayal; how deep it is, how significant it is within that phrase. Not sacrifice, but betrayal, meaning you mustn’t just remove something from your life as sacrifice suggests, but you must directly oppose that something if you hope to achieve change, or drastic change as I see it. 

In the context of the conversation with Jhumpa, the speaker was referring to her leaving New York for Italy and learning the language so intimately that she has recently written her latest book in full Italian.

In her initial move from the city, Jhumpa left her entire library of of English books behind. All of them. She didn’t take any. For me that showed that she not only had to sacrifice “something” to learn the language, but she had to completely abandon and betray the English language in order to attain the level of fluidity with Italian she set out to achieve.

How many of us can honestly say we are willing to be that bold?

How many of us are willing to go against our common way of thinking, of behaving, of seeing things, so we can transform our lives? And believe me when I say transform is the precise word. The sharper the betrayal, the greater the transformation.

Let that sink in for a while. Let that concept really take its course. So many of us want to do great things, want to be seen as great influencers, but are we willing to betray…

I had to take a hard look at myself, as well. I post so much about my passion for writing, for being a novelist. And though I feel like I can certainly answer affirmatively to the former question, in my own mind I’m left to wonder what exactly that betrayal will look like.

#HistoryOrNothing

Read my debut novella "THOUGHTS OF A FRACTURED SOUL," here.

Life Can Be Your Passion

I write this from my hotel room in Manhattan, in the early hours of the morning on the fourth day of my week long trip. Coming to this city has been such a blessing. The affect New York is having on me has been unexpected, and the lessons I’ve learned equally as curious. Last night I saw Jhumpa Lahiri speak at the New York Public Library. She’s a Pulitzer Prize winning author for a collection of short stories called Interpreter of Maladies. I admire her writing more than you can imagine, and she’s directly impacted my own writing more than any author I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

But it was after her dialogue that was equally as memorable. Walking through Times Square, feeling the energy of the city as I strolled down 42nd street. Before that I was with a friend in Harlem, and we walked around 155th street before meeting up with another friend who drove us through the east and west side of that relatively small, but historic section of Manhattan.

This evening I’ll be headed to Williamsburg, on the suggestion of some colleagues I had lunch with in Greenwich Village a few days earlier. And what’s been amazing for someone like me, someone who is more passionate about my career than anything else, I realized that it’s possible to be just as passionate about life itself.

Life can literally be your passion. And I feel very humbled to be saying this. I absolutely love writing, love words, love reading other writers. Writing is my life, it’s both what I do and who I am.

But that’s me. And being here even I have to admit that for those who are struggling to find what they want to do with their lives, what career they want to pursue that will fulfill their passions, know that you can find fulfillment in life itself.

What I’ve learned perusing New York in the manner I have is that it’s possible to still be content even if your career doesn’t define who you are. In fact, I would even suggest that those still searching for who they are seek refuge in life itself. And that doesn’t even have to happen through travelling, although it will certainly increase your appreciation for the world we live in.

But you can find passion in your family, in your friends, in your city. You can find that contentment in your hobbies or in your partner. Jhumpa Lahiri spoke about finding that passion in her learning of the Italian language, and how it has made her feel a kind of wholeness she was missing her entire life.

And I’m not saying you should stop pursuing a career that would fill whatever space you’re looking to fill, I’m saying look to what’s already around you or within you to find that comfort. Because those things can be just as magnificent.

#HistoryOrNothing

Read "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul," here. 

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