Things That You See From There -  Interview.

Things That You See From There - Interview.


Click here to read my story about how I came to write the book My Heart Is Here and There. (In Hebrew).


Itamar Ben Cnaan from Alondon kindly wrote about the book. I translated it into English to make it more accessible. I hope you enjoy it:

'My Heart Is Here and There' is a lovely children's book written by Sharon Vidan-Kashti during the days of the Corona closures. Like many others, Sharon had free time but took this opportunity to write and create a bilingual children's picture book in Hebrew and English. The story is about a girl with Israeli parents growing up in London. We had a chance to interview Sharon on the book's release.

First, tell us a little about yourself: where are you originally from, how many years in London, and what brought you here?

Hello, it's great to meet you. I am originally from Ramat Gan, and I've lived in Tel Aviv since I turned twenty. I've been interested in photography since high school, and I received my bachelor's degree in art from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. After graduating from university, I worked in producing and curating art exhibitions and event photography and as an assistant to the photographer Ziv Koren.

Tel Aviv was the city that stole my heart before I fell in love with London. In 2010, I moved to London, two years after my mother's sudden passing, which made me feel like life as I knew it was over. I longed for a change, something new. I visited old childhood friends residing in England, which opened my mind to relocating there. Although I had previously visited London and lived in Amsterdam back in 2004, I was still amazed by the city's vast cultural and artistic wealth, exhibitions and museums, music culture, open-minded approach, and sense of liberation, and I knew in my heart that I wanted to make London my new home.

By an incredible coincidence, approximately a month after I visited London, I attended a party at the Brazily Club, where I met Itay, an Israeli musician in London. We were introduced by mutual friends and started a long-distance relationship. After six months, we decided to get married, and I moved to London to live with him. My love of Itay, big cities, and art drew me to London, but my mother's influence also played a significant role. She was an Anglophile who worked as an English teacher and a tour guide in London, and she instilled in me a passion for the city, British culture, and the English language through books, music, and movies.

How did the idea for the book come about?

I'm sure you've read biographies of writers or creators who describe having a sudden burst of inspiration. Well, that's precisely what happened to me. The idea for the book came to me as a complete concept seemingly out of nowhere. At the time, my family and I struggled to decide whether to move back to Israel, and we didn't have a clear answer or direction.

The reason for writing this book was to address the recurring issue of people asking my daughter where she is originally from. Despite being born and raised in London, my daughter was constantly questioned about her background, whether it be due to her appearance or accent. This made her feel uncomfortable and confused, given that she was from London. One particularly notable incident occurred when we were obtaining her British citizenship card, and the person processing the application saw that she was born in London but still asked her where she was from. This left my daughter even more bewildered, as she was born and grew up in London.

At that moment, I felt that my little personal project was something that was very important for me to publish, for my children and for all children who experience the same feeling and situation of being between two worlds, between two places, and that the heart is here as well as there. That is, as children of immigrants, the connection to the place where the parents came from will be part of future generations' lives.

In addition, Stephen King wrote in his book "On Writing" that "all novels are letters, aimed at one person". So indeed, the book is designed for my children and children in a similar situation, but also for one particular acquaintance who claimed that in life, you could only do one thing. And since I have always been a multi-passionate creative, I added immigration and tied my life to another culture and place; I wanted to write a book and create an object that essentially is both Hebrew and English, open from the right and left, and the content talks about being here and there. Still, there is a happy ending where everything connects and is fine. You can combine and turn the here and there into a legitimate place.

The story came to me quickly. The illustrations, on the other hand, took more time since behind me was a whole decade with a creative barrier in painting and drawing. As a result, I planned a mainly typographic book, which I was interested in as a designer, in 2019. I played with writing the book, and the coronavirus started at the end of 2019. Suddenly, I couldn't juggle work, exhibitions, yoga classes, friends, family life and childcare. Sitting at home allowed me to work every evening on the book and treat it as a personal design project - the Corona project. And to my delight, the book was indeed coming to life, ready for publication towards the end of the coronavirus.

You are a graphic designer for a living. Did you always want to write a children's book, or did it just come out of the blue?

I work as a graphic designer, and while I didn't plan on writing a children's book, looking back, I realize that I've always been drawn to books from a design perspective. Even before becoming a mother, I was interested in children's books, and that interest grew after having children. As a child, reading books like The Moomins significantly impacted me. A good children's book is not just a work of art with beautiful illustrations but also an opportunity to bond with your children, learn, grow, and get excited together.

When I started writing the book, I came across a book by Jessica Hische, Lettering Artist, who illustrated and wrote a children's picture book after becoming a mother, which greatly inspired me. I started to see a thread stretching between designers' and children's books, with another example being Henri's Walk to Paris, illustrated by the designer Saul Bass". 

Dichotomy - or why English and Hebrew?

And why was the decision to publish the book in a bilingual edition? 

Why not only Hebrew or only English?

As I mentioned, I wanted to create a place as an object in the real world where both worlds would exist in one space. English and Hebrew together in the same thing. A magical book that can be opened both on the right and left, worlds that intertwine and allow legitimacy and a space where one lives when the heart is here And there. A new place that can be taken by hand anywhere and in which there is recognition of the cultural and linguistic richness—a dichotomy.

Is the book intended only for an Israeli audience (whether in Israel or abroad), or does it have other audiences?

I think the book can also speak to Jewish people who live outside Israel (even if they are not Israelis), and to non-Israeli spouses of Israelis abroad or those who moved from England to Israel on relocation."

I understand that the publication process, binding, distribution, etc., was completely independent. Why?

Since the idea was to do a personal project in graphic design to publish a book, I became very interested in everything related to the printing of a book and its production. I have yet to look for a publisher. I went deep into the field of indie publishing - independent publishing. I discovered a fascinating world filled with interesting people who shared their publishing process through podcasts, books, etc. I am inspired by people interested in independently paving the way for themselves. I assume that what they all have in common is the desire for independence, together with a tendency to want to experience and control all the stages of publishing a book. The indie publishing industry defines this as a writer/creator-entrepreneur. That is the writer as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is also reflected in the final product, a book and other products or services. I connected with that.

Do you have plans to publish another children's book?

Yes. I feel the bubbling and flooding of new ideas. The direction is still around immigration, relocation, and the connection between making art and immigration. I also started to explore the field of Jewish folklore as a direction, although a little dark, for my next children's book.

See you here and there. Sharon x

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