We received this email from Ibrahim Kurtulus, an associate professor at the VCU School of Business and a member of James River Writers. In it, Ibrahim explains why he writes. (Melissa Gay, a JRW website contributor, edited the message for clarity and length.)
Dear Straight Talk @ James River Writers:
I started writing when I was eight years old and stopped at 15. I don’t want to dwell on what happened and why I stopped at such a young age. I’ll make it my second (or maybe third) novel. That way the story will be more comprehensible and compelling. (By the way, I was writing in Turkish then.)
I picked up writing again 10 years ago, this time in English. Two sets of events forced me to write. First are the stories I heard in the 1950s from my grandparents’ generations of Turks, Greeks, and Armenians of injustices and the courage some ordinary individuals exhibited by rising against the tide of persecution and abuse that eventually flooded their lands with the onset of World War I. I am in the process of sending some of these stories to literary magazines.
My second reason was to relive and let the current generations judge the forgotten era of 1960-1970 when we thought, for a brief moment, we could even grab the sunlight with our bare hands. During that decade, we accomplished so much but wanted to accomplish more, we were frustrated by the Vietnam War and the inertia against change, and so many young people demonstrated their disappointment by falling out of the society, becoming hippies, renegades from the draft, and re-starting their lives elsewhere. The novel that summarizes this experience is in its fifth revision.