Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Author's Note on Writing Lullaby

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Author's Note on Writing Lullaby

May 9, 2010 was going to be a happy day: I had time to write another cover letter for yet another job that was not my forte, not being an author, before I dressed up for a party, to be ready to be picked up by my fiancé…

It was Radio Farda that announced Farzad Kamangar and four other Kurds were charged with “Animosity with God and terrorism” and hanged without warning

My tears had no reason to roll down since I did not know any of these people and they were neither the first, nor the last Kurds executed by the Iranian government. But tears don’t look for reasons and I surrendered to hours of non-stop sobs that smudged the words I’d been writing.

Resolving not to ruin my fiancé’s evening, I showered and put on a smile. But a “What’s wrong?” coming from a person that knew me so well was enough to smear my mascara and stain his new shirt. He was not the first person to warn me that my unusual empathies had turned into a curse. But what was I to do?

What are you and I to do when we don’t want to turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening around the world? Embittered by the writing industry that I’d experienced before, I had put aside my abilities as a writer and now, with the news from the radio I wondered even how to read. How are we to read the bitter narrative of this world? Is what happened to this Farzad and many others, part of a bigger narrative that can provide context and offer meaning? Justification? In a world of contradictions, the sublime and the hideous, how are we to face the complications, adapt, and yet again recover the eagerness to push on towards creating a better place?

Art and literature.

The artist and writer disrobes the fully-dolled-up-world, cultivates our senses by exposing the magnificence and the repugnant, humanizes the “other” and encourages us to reflect, to negate the negative, and finally art fuels us to stay humane, to become humane.

That day I picked up my pen again and have never put it down since.

Ava Homa

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The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.