I grew up a Third culture kid. I lived in Mexico, Congo-Brazzaville, Tunisia, Algeria, India, and France before returning to the country where I was born, not-quite a foreigner, not-quite a native. I climbed on the ruins of Roman cities and floated down the sacred Ganges. I trekked across the Thar Desert on a recalcitrant camel. I woke to the adhan song of the muezzin. I heard the sputtering guns of civil war behind an iron-shuttered window. I sang with welcoming strangers in languages I did not know. I hunkered with the gargoyles of Notre Dame and picked tea in the shadow of Everest. I was at home everywhere and I was never at home.
One place stayed with me, through all the many places I lived. The endless world of imagination always waited, a thought away. Everything I experienced wound up there, in a mix-muddled shuffle of new stories and pictures. And, best of all, I found I could share it with anyone, no matter who or where, if they wanted to see.
That’s what I do. I write books. I paint and draw. I hum little nonsense tunes in languages I make up. Every day I learn new ways to make things that weren’t there yesterday—even if I’m not very good at first. As Jake the Dog said: “Dude, sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.”
And when I’m done creating something, I share it. Because sharing what we imagine is how the strange and lonely country in each of us becomes a home. So join me, where there are no borders, no passports, no one to check to see if you belong. We’re all strangers here. And we all belong.