Touched

I’m sipping Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

I realise this is a peculiar way to revive a blog after months of silence but it really is a damn good whisky.

One of my favourite bloggers said something about “connecting in a certain way over blogging”. Pete has an extraordinary knack for wording things in a minimalistic way that creeps up on you later on and inspires contemplation. The sort of stripped-down, unelaborate style that is the antithesis of mine. I wish I would write like that. There is something in my writing that slows down the process, forcing the reader to internalise. Work now, reap later. I have a peculiar relationship with language due to years of training in law and linguistics. I tend to over-intellectualise and get lost in abstract thinking. Every word is a bombshell, something to be picked at, thrashed around and bullied in a way that wouldn’t be out of place in a Navy SEAL hazing. Add a little OCD and it’s a miracle I can string two sentences together.

So, connecting over writing. It’s the sort of connection you make over an intensely personal pursuit. It sets you apart somehow, creating a community in which the terrible disease of loneliness is no more. A place where your scars don’t matter. If you don’t fit in, you can fit together. You can let down that weight into the ocean of imagination on which we are suspended. The ebb and flow of creativity evokes the idea of a shared life-force; we are brought into being by an act of creation, and it is this creation, once shared, once reaped, that harvests a passionate bond. Two of my closest friends are people I met online in a fiction-writing community. My old bandmate is my cosmic brother. All my close friendships boast a haven of repose in one way or another. It’s that creative synergy that flows and cross-pollinates between two sensitive souls, whatever their craft or damage. It isn’t exclusive, but it is special. Like coming home.

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Maybe home isn’t a place, but a condition. Maybe it isn’t a place on the map but a story of the heart. A fabric interwoven with the people you love and the places you cherish. That place of peace that allows you to let go and freefall into a space that is separate. For most people this is their house. But I grew up in three countries and recently moved from Europe to the Middle East, so home has always been more of a state of mind than a physical dwelling.

I’ve never experienced a traditional community either, the type you see on television and in the movies. “Where everyone knows your name”. I’ve always been kind of jealous of those who grew up in a more traditional setting, with neighbours, extended family members and the vicar dropping in for tea. My own community existed within a more esoteric framework and was always fragmented due to friends and loved ones living overseas. This is my fate.

When people hear about my life they often say how cool it is that I’ve lived in different countries and had all these experiences, but they don’t realise the price I have paid. The price of roots, the price of a home, and the price of a community. I would relinquish all my experiences to feel rooted, for once in my life, to any one place. It is difficult to express the pain I feel because of this. My friends are always idealising other countries while demonising their own. I want to say it’s all the same. I want to say they’re deluding themselves if they think life ‘out there’ is any better. But I bite my tongue, because leaving a person to their delusion is often kinder. The world is sinking into a cesspool of despotism and the smell isn’t any sweeter in Paris. I give politics a wide berth. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion, but I see no point in debating those who are consumed by negative thinking. People who peddle negativity do so without taking cognisance of the slippery ground in which they are standing. They are part of the problem.

Leaving allows you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, and coming back, you may notice you have changed because others have not. I’m as much of an outsider here as I am on the other side of the pond. We are living in a rootless age. So many of us are exiles, shifting east and west, living out of suitcases and withdrawing into ourselves. Sometimes I like to step outside, get some fresh air and remind myself of who I am and who I want to be. When I do, I am always taken back to that which is a constant in my wandering life. Writing. My sanctuary stone. The ideas are home, the words my family. You are my community. And no one can take that away from me.

I never planned to abandon my writing. But sometimes it is elusive, like a lover who refuses to be touched.

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14 comments

  1. My emotions would better convey my excitement of you returning than my words could, but… I am so very glad to see you are back! Mmmmmmmmm. Hello, again.

    …creating a community in which the terrible disease of loneliness is no more.

    I find the internet, blogosphere, social-media, etc, to be fluid, very fluid in fact. It isn’t necessarily negative — although some come and go as passengers at a train station or airport — but if one enjoys “here today, gone tomorrow,” and recognizes that this electronic aether, at least in spirit(?), does in some ways represent our real existence on this rotating blue beautiful planet, then this cyberness is for you, yes!? [grin & wink]

    Maybe home isn’t a place, but a condition. Maybe it isn’t a place on the map but a story of the heart. A fabric interwoven with the people you love and the places you cherish. That place of peace that allows you to let go and freefall into a space that is separate.

    Mmmmm, yes. Simply…yes. And yet, as I read further my/the mood shifts. This image of me reading, listening, imagining you speak these words, I squirm up to the edge of my lush wingback chair, a bit puzzled rubbing my chin. “This magnificent butterfly” I’m thinking, “is unsure when and where to land.” Is it her nature to stay?

  2. So many lines, so many thoughts similar to mine…I’ve often thought about writing a piece on “roots” and “home”…beautifully written…beautifully expressed. I feel honored (and humbled) that a young woman of such talent and grace would choose to “follow me”…Thank you, dear-heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ❤

    • Oh Lucie, your piece about your dear Mum and Uncle blew me away. No superlative can do it justice. Discovering writers like you is integral to my love of blogging. We really are a community, nourishing one another in ways that are truly special. Thank you for following me back xx

  3. Welcome home, darling. I’ve missed your writing! It’s like an addiction I can’t shake, no matter the subject. You always have that way with words that always keeps me hooked. You captivate me every time. Writing has been and always will be your ‘thing’. You were born to do it. It’s in your blood. You find your roots in your writing no matter where you are. That’s where you feel most at home. That’s where you open up to the world and find the people who are much like you. There’s something about that I find so beautiful. Maybe its because I’ve come to understand how words and communication are very important in any kind of relationships, especially close friendships. And yet, I can identify with your longing for roots in my own way and own experiences in life. Its only in recent years that I’ve finally found mine. I like to think that all of us long to feel rooted in someway. Whatever that means to a person.

    Keep doing what you love and never stop. So glad to have you back ❤

    • Em, thank you so much. “You find your roots in your writing no matter where you are.” Nailed it. To know my library is to know my mind and you have been reading mine for years. You understand the message hidden beneath the words. Thank you for bearing with me through it all ❤

  4. lovingthepunks

    Welcome back dear fairy o’mine. I’d write a longer comment celebrating your return, but you know the hand I’m being dealt right now. “You live on it…”

      • lovingthepunks

        You know, I don’t think anyone has wished so strongly for you to come back to writing as I did. I know I’m not always particularly verbal on my loves and likes, but you are one of the very few people that touches a chord in my heart. It started when I first read a story you wrote. I had the strong desire to reach out to you, to know who you were, to know why you made my skin tingle and my heart jump. You belong amongst words, you belong between the lines, on the beat, playing with words like you would strum a guitar, poignant, beautiful, smart and witty notes of pure genius. No, home is not a physical place. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is yours, from day one. Welcome back home my love, I’ve been waiting for your return…

  5. “But sometimes it is elusive, like a lover who refuses to be touched.”
    One line, summing up why I love your writing so much.
    You are back. And that makes me very happy.
    We never know for how long of course. But that is the frisson that keeps me addicted.
    As ever, Pete. xx

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