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Abdi Nor Iftin is a journalist, translator, and author living in Maine. But his writing journey didn’t start there. Abdi’s recent book, Call Me American, chronicles his life growing up in the African country of Somalia, and the transition from the peaceful pastoral place it was to the war-torn area it became. One of the escapes he found early on was learning English through American movies, which eventually led him to master the language well enough to become a legit secret war correspondent for outlets like National Public Radio and others.
After fleeing to Kenya to further escape the violence and military recruitment, he earned a green card to the U.S. through the Diversity Visa Lottery. Here, he was interviewed on This American Life about the program and his life as a refugee, and the conversation touched so many people that he eventually came to write about it in his memoir, which debuted earlier this year. When he isn’t touring parts of the U.S. as a respected and published author, Abdi works with the Somali refugee program in Maine, serving as a translator, to help others find similar opportunities to what he’s been able to find through his own storytelling and writing career.
What You’ll Learn About Writing This Week:
- Deciding how you want to contribute to the world through your writing
- How our childhood memories and events influence the stories we tell but can often be difficult and very emotional to face
- Sharing your experiences to give people an understanding of something they’ve never known before
- Why being shy doesn’t mean you are a coward, and that it’s OK to tell people that
- Being a citizen journalist (aka a secret war correspondent) to share important, valuable stories of self-identity with the world
- Why you need to publish the things you’re most scared to write about
Mentioned in This Episode (Links and Resources!):
You Can Find More of Abdi and His Writing On:
Tweetable Quotes From This Episode:
Thanks to our Season 3 sponsor: Coworker.com
Elisa Doucette is a writer and editor who works with professional writers, entrepreneurs, and brands that want to make their own words even better. She is the Founder of Craft Your Content, and oversees Client Strategy and Writing Coaching. Her own writing has been featured in places like Forbes, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yahoo! Small Business, and The Huffington Post, among others. She also hosts the Writers' Rough Drafts podcast here on CYC. When she isn't writing, editing, or reading words, she can usually be found at a local pub quiz, deep in a sun salutation, or binging TV shows for concept ideas and laughs.