The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

The threads of longing and art

My first blog tour is over!

Hope in a Chaotic World by Jane Kurtz

Last answers (for now) about Anna Was Here.

injeraMost people wanted to know how moving was part of my own childhood–easy peasy answer there. This picture must have been taken not long after we arrived in Ethiopia when I was two (I’m the one on the right). My mom and dad were in language school, and we were living in Addis Ababa.

arialThe next move was to Maji–when I was four. “Did you even have electricity?” someone asked me last week.

No. Not at first. Eventually my dad read a book and figured out how to use the power of the waterfall in the right of this picture to put in a mill to grind grain for the community and then, at night, to give us some hours of electricity.


down on both sidesBut as I wrote in several interviews, also scary. This is the spot I talked about in the last interview–the place where the road dropped away on both sides and made my stomach swoop every time.

hike out of MajiI love my childhood in Ethiopia. It sure left me with a lot of questions, though…

IMG_0559Some of those questions were about girls who didn’t have access to school.

img152Other questions were about where I belonged. I knew I was a visitor to Ethiopia. Our travels to the US never convinced me that this was home, though.

And thus…art.

Aklilu 3Whether an Ethiopian artist, Aklilu, seeing and showing his world, or me writing Anna Was Here, we unspool our memories our impressions our visions and questions and weave them into something different. The thread is what we feel and what we wonder and what we know.

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