Notes on Belonging and not belonging.
Ellipsis is a newsletter featuring Diasporic voices on Culture, Migration, Displacement, and Literature.
For a few years now, I have become obsessed with the immigrant conundrum and its various interpretations and intersections. Every time I am in the company of other migrants or immigrants, listening to them negotiate their positionality within the new spaces they occupy in the diaspora, I have become more convinced of the necessity of these stories and their need to exist. When we sit down, we talk about the complications of our places in the world, we talk about the ways in which the politics of our new world, our new environment affects our lives and our choices. We discuss plans for a future, plans for staying, plans for remaining, plans for never returning until, and plans for returning after. We talk about our old countries, what ejected us, what we love about the place, what we hate, what we miss and what we can't get enough of, and how we are making our futures within these spaces.
Many of these conversations, to a banal ear, feel random, feel unnecessary, unimportant. But to us and for us, these conversations are everything. They are the sum of our existence, the sum of our lives. When we sit huddled in groups, we sometimes forget to perform our previous identities as Indians, Chinese, Zimbabweans, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Ugandans, Kenyans, in these various diasporas. We perform instead, our new experience of being in motion, of trying to belong to a place. We perform the things we have in common, our daily experiences as they intersect with each other as if they are the same. We perform the moments of culture shocks and the rare events, when everything feels in sync, when the diaspora suddenly feels like it might yet accept us as its own.
This is why I have decided to curate these experiences in this newsletter. Here you will read from writers whose lives are also in the process of establishing themselves in the diaspora. This newsletter aims for multi-perspectivity. It attempts to break the stereotypical narratives about those who are existing in these diasporas. We will discuss what the diaspora means to them, how they are navigating these various meanings. We will also attempt to investigate what identity means to them, how they are navigating the pre-existing notions that are prevailing about who they are or who they have been before their arrival.
Why “Ellipsis”? The word, in its original Greek meaning connotes a kind of omission, a contextual absence that is sometimes without definition. In this newsletter, I am seeking to enhance the space that shares W. H. Auden’s definition of poetry, as a place of mixed feelings, since this is what the various diasporic experiences feel like.
Every two weeks, you will get a new personal essay and in the week after, a short interview with the writer. So feel free to tell your friend about us. Follow us on social media as well, as we will share soundbites from these essays and interviews. Twitter & Instagram: @ellipsisNLT
So again, welcome to Ellipsis.
Night Driving by Uwem Akpan on the New Yorker.
On the Sunny Side of the Street by Tolu Daniel on Lolwe.