Sunday, September 30, 2012


"If I'd known leaving every home would get me here, I would have gone sooner."  

There's home to be found nowhere--stability in being thoroughly dislodged.

I try to remind myself of this before I go anywhere. I may only be driving for the pleasure of driving. I may be sitting on a plane for 12 hours to emerge in a place I feel I have always known. I long for home and long to be untethered. I dream of my own bed and dwell on those that will only be mine for a few hours--things to be seen and felt for a brief period before they disappear into my memory, objects I will never truly know again.

I had an English teacher in middle school who was fond of telling us to explain the moments between the moments. In other words, don't tell me where you went and the "foreignness" of it; detail the steps you took on the pavement. Describe how the air smelled in that moment you descended a flight of stairs. Can you capture the emotion of the music you hear while traversing a public square? It's a simple writing prompt, but I summon it whenever I can. I like to collect facts, but I am always interested in coloring in their outlines with those moments. Don't just keep a journal that's a black-and-white list. Make it an explosion of colors. Create your own synesthesia.

Forward/backward: dual vision. I feel it as a language. I can speak it, write it, but not clearly translate. Which is the point. My writing about the places I go is at once perfunctory, an outline, and utterly nonsensical--an inside joke I hope no one ever has to try to unravel. For someone who has been guilty of saying structure and clarity are the main tenets of my writing, the mess of these travelogues is, frankly, refreshing.

I am shelving and filing the notebooks today and packing a leather booklet and multiple pens. I am flexing the muscles in my fingers, wishing them into paintbrushes. I am dreaming of the countries I've waited 25 years to see. I want to make a home out of each of them.

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