The Language of Belonging

Languager of Belonging

 

THE STORY

 

When Cecilia is hired by Mrs. Woodard, she doesn’t expect to find a new life and her own past.

Brazilian immigrant to the USA Cecilia is hired by the wealthy seventy-eight year old Elena Woodard to be her fulltime caregiver. Elena gives her journal with her history and her most intimate secrets to Cecilia to translate into English. Inspired by the older woman’s story of her life in Brazil, Cecilia tells how she fled Brazil with her mother, crosses the border from Mexico into the United States, and their struggles to survive in the new country as illegal immigrants. When Elena dies, a new future is created for Cecilia.

A novel about sacrifice, friendship, love, and the yearning to belong.

 

THE AUTHOR

Cristiane has been writing fiction since she discovered it as a way to explore real life through fiction when she was 15 years old. The Language of Belonging is her second novel. Her first book, Todos os Rios se Dirigem Para o Mar, was published in Portuguese only.

Cristiane was born in the northeast of Brazil. At 13, she started to work as a pre-school teacher in her village’s public school.  The experiences she had with her students and their families during the following 13 years inspired her to create characters such as “Elena” and “Cecilia’s Mother.” At 18, she was accepted at the Universidade Estadual de Alagoas as a Portuguese, Literature, and English student. At 26, she went to the United States with intent to improve her English. She met her husband and almost a year later they married. They have one daughter. She resides in New England with her family.

 

 

Embroidery, More Than a Hobby

 

The northeast of Brazil is rich in culture: folklore, music, cordel literature, artisans, and more.  My family on my mother’s side were fishermen and embroiderers. The women all knew the art of embroidery and used to supplement the family’s income through hours of work, day and night, after cooking, cleaning, and childcare. When the waters of the Sao Francisco river were too low and there were not enough fish to sell, the women had to hope and pray for buyers for their work. Life has never been easy for poor families in Brazil’s northeast and it was always harder on the women and children. But their art also enabled them to build a bond with each other as they worked together in each other’s homes, keeping company while sharing their troubles, joys, and news.

My grandmother was very serious about her art. Every piece was well cared for. Made with beautiful details, then washed, ironed with precision and sold in local markets. I loved to watch the women working on their craft and to see their pride in showing their work. Every woman did it; except me. Somehow I could never get a handle on how to find the right place for that needle. Some girls were trained in the art from young age. For them, not learning to do it wasn’t an option. Productivity was a must and even small hands were needed. Creativity has always been a part of  life for Nordestinos and finding honest ways to survive there, needs a high level of it.

It is not a coincidence that embroidery made its way into The Language of Belonging. It is still the way we decorate our homes from pillows cases to tablecloths and curtains. Just beautiful. And, we show it in the book.

Now, we are partnering with a few embroiders in Brazil to show their craft. They started to work on a piece with the cover of The Language of Belonging. We will follow their progress and will show the final product. They will send me it to be shown during our book launch in Portsmouth, NH. From the Northeast of Brazil to the Northeast of the U.S. The Language of Belonging is connecting us.

 

Cristiane Lima Scott

 

Bordado – Não é Apenas um Hobby

 

O nordeste brasileiro é rico em cultura: folclore, música, literatura de cordel, artesanato e muito mais. A minha família, por parte da minha mãe, eram pescadores e bordadeiras. As mulheres aprendiam a arte do bordado e usavam para complementar a renda da família através de horas de trabalho dia e noite. Ainda cozinhavam, limpavam e cuidavam das crianças. Quando as águas do rio São Francisco estavam muito baixas e não haviam peixes suficientes para vender, as mulheres tinham que esperar e rezar para que aparecessem compradores para os bordados. A vida nunca foi fácil para famílias pobres do nordeste do Brasil, mas foi sempre mais difícil para as mulheres e crianças. Mas, o bordado também lhes permitiram criar um vínculo de amizade e companherismo; bordando juntas elas compartilhavam os problemas e novidades em suas vidas.

Minha avó sempre levou o bordado muito à sério. Cada peça era bem cuidada. Feito com belos detalhes, em seguida, lavadas, e passadas com precisão; e vendidos em feiras locais. Bordado é uma tradição na nossa família. Eu gostava de ver as mulheres bordando com muita atenção, cuidado, orgulhosas em mostrar seu trabalho. Todas as mulheres sabiam bordar; exceto eu. De alguma forma eu nunca consegui aprender a colocar a agulha no lugar certo no tecido. Algumas meninas foram treinados na arte cedo. Para elas, não aprender a bordar não era uma opção. Produtividade é importante e até mesmo as pequenas mãos eram necessários. Criatividade sempre fez parte da vida dos nordestinos e encontrar maneiras honestas de sobreviver, precisa de um elevado nível de criatividade.

Não é coincidência que o bordado tenha sido incluido em The Language of Belonging. Essa ainda, é a forma de decorar as nossas casas, com cortinas, toalhas de mesa e travesseiros bordados. Tudo lindo. E, falo sobre a arte do bordado no livro. Agora, estamos em parceria com algumas bordadeiras no Brasil para que mostrem sua arte. Elas começaram a trabalhar em uma toalha que mostra a capa do livro The Language of Belonging. Vamos acompanhar o seu progresso e mostar o produto final. Elas irão me enviar essa toalha para ser mostrada a todos na festa de lançamento do livro em Portsmouth, NH. Do Nordeste do Brasil para o Nordeste dos EUA. The Language of Belonging está nos conectando.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>