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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.

I’m the one on the left. But whose left?
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