Tuesday, November 26, 2019

STIP Student Julija Pivo Explores the Narratives of Post–Cold War Lithuanian Immigrant Women

Hi! My name is Julija Pivo, and I am a rising senior in the Creative Writing program. I have been interested in the topic of Lithuanian immigrant narratives ever since I came to America myself, partly because I found that there were very few narratives written in English. The only one that I could find as a child was The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which fails to even write a Lithuanian’s name correctly on the first page. Because of this, I wanted to reach out to other Lithuanian immigrants in my community and focus on the intersections between our experiences in order to tell a faithful narrative of our lives. My central focus was on women, and how their sense of family, community, and identity changed or shifted since they arrived to America. I hope to continue writing about Lithuanian narratives in the future, specifically with a focus on the crucial questions of identity and diversity. 

Most weeks were comprised of reaching out to Lithuanian women in my community, arranging interviews, and preparing questions to ask each one. Once those interviews were conducted, I took central ideas from each, focusing on the biggest differences and similarities, And on how they can be intertwined in the narrative I was creating. Then the rest of the time was spent outlining the novella as a whole, slowly piecing it all together bit by bit more details became clear.

I am truly grateful that OSCAR has allowed me to focus on my culture and heritage in a way that has helped me grow not only as a person, but also as a writer and researcher. I’ve been able to learn about the intersecting cultural beliefs that Lithuanians have, and how they view their connection to America. These have helped show me the importance of narratives in today’s global culture, as well as their importance in retaining a connection to our roots