English is the language of the Empire and so naturally, effortlessly, adsorbs words and expressions from the international community. My little inner Grammarian finds that process immensely interesting.
No mystery there.
I grew up in Trinidad (&Tobago, if you want to name the country and overlook the specifics of neighborhood) a polyglot culture that was based on English but included a variety of languages and dialects. We celebrated Eid, Divali, Easter and Double-Ten. I grew up to the music of calypso and the steelpan; the Christmas parandero’s cuatro and box-bass and the tassa drums of Hindu worship and weddings. My ancestors, collectively, spoke French, Spanish, Chinese and some African tongue, lost overboard somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. Out of all of that, my native language is English; hence my fascination with the way English adsorbs words.
Samizdat is one such adsorption.
The online Merriam-Webster gives the word as the undercover production and distribution of literature banned by the (Soviet) Government. It’s of Russian origin, the dictionary explains, literally meaning something like ‘self-publishing’.
Now there’s a word for the day.
Self-Publishing. Samizdat adds a revolutionary cachet to the word, doesn’t it? And it fits nicely with what I try to do with my books. I’m not into preaching. Sanctimonious and preachy writers are in the wrong profession. I write for my reader, not to it.
Still, my words must have meaning. That’s part of how I understand my responsibility as an artist, a parent, and a member of this civil society. My Self-Publishing enterprise will often purvey ideas that the Government, especially this Government, will find discomfiting. Good.
That’s the whole point of my samizdat.