Next Perth speaker

Sisonke Msimang

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June 30, 7:40am • Bankwest Place • part of a series on Survival

“I would like to throw a reflection.”

Sorry, I was speaking literal-translation-from-Spanish.

I start again: I would like to launch a thought. Better?

That’s the beginning of the problem (and the challenge): language.

My name is Begoña Sánchez (Begonia pronounced as the flower), I am Spanish and I am a journalist. Since I arrived in Australia almost four years ago I have worked in different positions, none of them as a journalist. I am not sure if I will work in a newspaper again -after more than 10 years experience back in Spain- and I am not sure if I am a journalist anymore but I can still say that I am a ‘professional of words’. I mean, in Spanish.

This month, Creative Morning´s topic is language, mi favourite one, and I am missing it. Being a ‘professional of words’ means a lot for me. It is not just about writing, it is about describing with accuracy, precision, sharpness, irony and detail the world I see. For me, being creative is not only the ability to create but also the capability to accomplish that idea, to release, to do something with it indeed.

I considered myself a creative person. I am not a genius, but still have a different way to see things and a different approach to face problems. I would even say that I approach those problems creatively. However, since I am in Australia, and I have to speak English, and the people I want to connect to speak English, I struggle with the idea of me being still creative.

Have this other language (English) decreased my brain activity? Don’t I have ideas anymore? Have the way I perceive the world changed? No. But it is a fact that I don’t feel happy about making an effort to build a text in English when I feel that I can’t do it as accurate, precise, sharp, ironic or detailed as in Spanish. In conclusion: I am not as creative and free like I am in my mother tongue.

It is not a matter of being unconfident. I have this internal debate: If I want to connect to my Australian peers, I need to talk in their language, but if I want to feel as awesome as I think they are, I need to do it in Spanish.

There is no answer or I haven’t found it yet. Maybe for an architect there’s no debate, they only need to know how the name of the Revit tool is called. They are creative and still know how to work with the same software. But I can´t imagine how long is going to take me to control this software called English.

I am not blaming anyone, but I wanted to speak out, and again ‘throwing’ that idea. Because I hope that creativity is not only sharing ideas and see how awesome creative people are. I hope it is also talking about the challenges that it presents.

What do you think?

Kind Regards,Begoña.

All artwork by Michael Grau who, being a beanpole, often forgets to draw the shoulders. Bouncing head of Marcus Taylor.

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