History does influence our lives - every moment. We never sort of live our lives in a linear fashion. We always have these memories and these images from our past that sometimes were not even aware of, and they sort of shape who we are.— Dinaw Mengestu
The most fascinating Dinaw Mengestu quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you
At night my father often heard sporadic gunfire mixed in with the sound of dogs howling. If the war came closer, soon there would be only minor difference between shooting a dog and shooting a man.
You see, at the beginning we weren't fighters.
We weren't yellers or throwers, even if we eventually came to be. It would take time and much deeper wounds for us to get to that point.
There are those who wake up each morning to conquer the day, and then there are those of us who wake up only because we have to. We live in the shadow of every neighborhood. We own little corner stores, live in run-down apartments that get too little light, and walk the same streets day after day. We spend our afternoons gazing lazily out of windows. Somnambulists, all of us. Someone else said it better: we wake to sleep and sleep to wake.
Don't think about how your characters sound, but how they see.
Watch the world through their eyes - study the extraordinary and the mundane through their particular perspective. Walk around the block with them, stroll the rooms they live in, figure out what objects on the cluttered dining room table they would inevitably stare at the longest, and then learn why.
It's hard sometimes to remember why we do anything in the first place.
It's nice to think there's a purpose, or even a real decision that turns everything in one direction, but that's not always true, is it? We just fall into our lives.
The imagined memories had to have as much weight as the real, or we had to at least pretend they did to such a degree that they just very well might have. And so I never questioned Angela about that particular story, or about all the troubling things that it pointed to, content to believe that at least in this version things worked for her better than they did in the one I never heard.
Personally, its a comfort and happiness to know that my work is taken seriously and is not marginalised and put in a box of ethnic immigrant writing in America.
When I was growing up, Forest Park was full of integrated families.
It was amazing. One my best friends was Vietnamese. Another one was half-Mexican, half-black. Another one was from Colombia. Another one was born in the U.S., but his mom was from Germany and spoke with a German accent. So we all had multiple identities.
We persist and linger longer than we think, leaving traces of ourselves wherever we go. If you take that away, then we all simply vanish.
The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears is very much about America - it just happens to have African and Ethiopian characters, and in fact, it happens to have more characters who are not Ethiopian than who are.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, the color of my skin and my rather peculiar background as an Ethiopian immigrant delineated the border of my life and friendships. I learned quickly how to stand alone.
The world around us is alive, he would have said, with our emotions and thoughts, and the space between any two people are charged with them all. He had learned early in his life that before any violent gesture there is a moment when the act is born, not as something that can be seen or felt, but by the change it precipitates in the air.
I had lost too much of the heart and all the faith needed to stay afloat in a job where every human encounter felt like an anvil strung around my neck just when I thought I was nearing the shore.
I was always curious about the anxiety a person would feel when you open your mouth and you have an accent. You could have a Ph.D. or be a lawyer, but as soon as you say something, you may be diminished in the eyes of someone else.