It’s a ‘proud father’ moment for me as my daughter (known in these posts as Thing I but known to the rest of the writing world as Amory Powell) is now a published author and poet at the tender age of fourteen.
We have just received in the post our paperback copy of The Worlds Within – “An anthology of TCK art and writing: young, global and between cultures” – and Thing I has two pieces included (one on what ‘home’ means to her and the other a poem about the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013)
For those of you not quite in the know, TCK stands for Third Culture Kid and it is the term used to describe children who have grown up in a culture which is not that of their passport. For instance, both of my two children grew up in Bangladesh though their passports are British. TCKs don’t belong to either their host culture or the passport one and while they do have remarkable experiences which will prove advantageous to them in the future (not least being a global perspective often lacking in the West) it is nevertheless very difficult for TCKs, who often/always feel both at home and alien in either culture and so inhabit a ‘third’ culture all of their own. This can be very unsettling if not traumatic because they can’t find a place to call ‘home’.
My two kids have experienced this a lot of the twelve months we’ve been back in the UK. They look British, they sound British but they aren’t British – and this leads to confusion and misunderstandings on their part, that of their teachers and certainly that of their peers. Growing up isn’t easy for any child but for TCKs there is an even greater sense of isolation and even despair which can be overwhelming at times. We’ve shed more tears than I care to think of since our return and I know we’re not out of the woods yet.
Which is why this anthology of creative writing and art from the youngsters themselves is so important. For those who took part, like Thing I, it is undoubtedly therapeutic to express their thoughts, hopes, fears and memories of life in another culture (as well as receiving much gratification from the joy of being in print).
But I think this book is important to read too. Other TCKs can dip into this easy-to-read book (or read it from cover to cover as my daughter will almost certainly do) and find that they are not alone, that there are others in the world who know exactly how they feel and have been, or are, struggling with just the same issues.
For a TCK it doesn’t matter if the writer lived in a completely separate culture to theirs or that the memories are wholly different; TCKs have an almost spiritual bond which translates their experiences into complete empathy. I saw this when my two went on TCK camps earlier this year. In a matter of days these kids knew each other as though they had been best friends for years. Though my kids have good friends at the school they’ve attended this last year, I can’t say the bonds have been anywhere near as close or understanding. In many ways, my two continue to speak a foreign language and I think their situation is one felt by thousands throughout the world.
2014 has been, in so many ways, my family’s annus horribilis and we’ve all gone through some immensely trying times. I’m proud that both my children have battled through it all and continue to thrive – albeit with wounds and scars cropping up along the way. I’m pleased that my daughter gets to see a result for her perseverance and don’t mind in the slightest that she’s beaten me by 29 years with being published (well…not very jealous anyway 😉 )!
If you are the parent of a TCK I well recommend to you The Worlds Within to buy for your children. Click the highlighted title to find the print version on amazon.co.uk or click on the links below to obtain the kindle versions. The book itself has its own website, the link for which you’ll also find below. If you’re not a parent but know a family who have just returned from living a few years abroad you might want to suggest this book for their children too. The book includes a variety of styles from kids aged between 4 and 21.
For me, I’m just a very proud dad who continues to be amazed at his daughter’s literary ability and pleased to see that it’s not just his paternal pride but that others also think she’s publishable too. You’ll find a link to her blog below if you fancy taking a look!
Amory writes her own blog which you can follow here – Justathirdculturekid
Amazon.com – The Worlds Within (Kindle version)
Amazon.co.uk – The Worlds Within