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Graphic Novels

Reflections on Belonging

The Vilnius Review begins to publish a cycle of essays called "Reflections on Belonging". Lithuanian writers and writers of Lithuanian origin will write about literature, translation, language, gender, identity and belonging.
Are we, as poet and translator Rimas Uzgiris puts it, "post-colonial, post-identity, post-home"? Or do we belong somewhere? Is language our only home? What does it mean to write - in one language, in two, in several languages? What is lost in translation? How does mobility and migration affects our life and literature?
These and other themes will be reflected upon by different writers, translators and essayists.

"Reflections on Belonging" is sponsored by association LATGA.

 

Illustration by Ūla Šveikauskaitė. She is one of the artists' from the community "Artists With Belarus", which solidarize with people of Belarus peacefully fighting against the regime.
No political activist funded by a Western democracy project has managed to inspire the nation in this way. It took one woman’s courage to awaken the Belarusian people from complacency.

By Laima Vince

Photo by Michelle Playoust
The nostalgia that you experience when you’re at home was granted a new definition in the twenty-first century—that of solastalgia. Solastalgia is a longing for home when you are home but when that home of yours has irreversibly changed. This recent term is used to describe our new condition: a spiritual, emotional, and existential discomfort brought on by the circumstances we live in.

By Akvilina Cicėnaitė Charles

Photo by Žana Gončiar
I was fake, and as soon as I admitted it, the sooner I could get on with my peon life, or what would be left of it now. What was I to do? I went to the nearest šilelis where I brought a small rupintojėlis, set him down on the moss, fell to my knees and prayed, “Jesus, Jesus, please make me real! Make me paramount!” But the Lord forsook me. And why wouldn’t He? I was some American poseur.

By Gint Aras

Photo by Ronnie Sat
COVID-19 is pointing us all in the same direction – evolution. We’re invited to question if we want to belong to the past; to return to pre-virus normal, a normal that many agree is broken. Or do we belong to the future? Imagining our world anew. Do we evolve or repeat?

By Kristina Dryža

Photo by Mantas Mockus
What else depends on me?
Poets come to me sometimes.
But the café is just really there for itself.
Just like thoughts are.

By Neringa Abrutytė

Photo by Alex Chapman
I am frantic with searching.
                    I fear I will never find what I seek.
                    I find only younger versions of people I cannot have known,
                    people whose lost youth I mourn as if it were mine;
                    for whose losses I must somehow compensate.

By Francesca Jūratė Sasnaitis

Photo from personal archives
I carefully combine words and feel that Lithuanian sentences are caught with magic realism. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) smiles, surrounded by yellow butterflies.

By Jolanta Ona Vitkutė

Photo by Birutė Ona Grašytė
I have no documents; I am a citizen of time. I’m unemployed, I don’t believe in occupation. I claim a current but no currency. I pledge allegiance only to the grass beneath each cow. My visa is my father’s father’s watch; its digits are my social security number.

By Malachi Black

Photo by Algimantas Aleksandravičius
Berlin accepted me like it does everyone else, granting my temporary existence a temporary shelter. It allowed me to finally become what I am. It forced me to pause, relax, stop being perfect, to mind others, and to find the courage to be the person I had dreamed, but never dared, of being. Here I am nobody, but I am myself.

By Lina Ever

Photo by author
The universe was amazing, the way it worked, all parts of it, the largest and the tiniest, was magic. At night, laying in my bed, I would try to imagine how vast the universe is, endless. That it had no boundaries was very hard to comprehend. I would send my soul onto a flight, with the speed of light and even faster, out there in space and try to reach the end of the universe. I never succeeded. It was a sure-proof method to fall asleep fast.

By Saulius Tomas Kondrotas

Photo by Marina Aris
I see a slightly older girl traveling for the first time to Chicago where her grandparents live and marching up the front steps of a stranger’s house where two old women converse in Lithuanian on the porch. “Why are you speaking my family’s language,” the little girl demands in the same tongue. “That’s ours not yours.”

By M. M. De Voe

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