42

Apr. 18th, 2005 11:58 am
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[Poll #477238]
All suggestions gratefully received.
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England really made an effort as I was coming back from Gatwick yesterday morning. It hit me with the works: darling buds and clouds of blossom on the trees, baby lambs who were definitely gambolling, morning mist lifting softly from the fields, half-timbered houses covered in climbing rose, shafts of sunlight beaming from the clouds. "Look at me! Look at me!" it was saying. "What a green and pleasant land I am!"

But despite all that, and despite deciding halfway across the Atlantic to cram my ears with all the music I could think of that would remind me where my loyalties lay - the Streets, the Clash, the Pistols, Saint Etienne, "Irish Blood, English Heart" - I'm sorry to be home. I'm back in the flat, which seems poky and grubby and cheerless, and my suitcase is sitting behind me, reproaching me for no longer living out of it.

I've had three weeks of adventure, exploration, converting strangers into friends, and freedom from all the burdens of ordinary life. London and work and bills and daily grind were literally on the far side of the world, not my problem. This is part of what holidays are for. I'd forgotten.

That could apply to any holiday, but also... I went to America full of preconceptions. Most of them got proved wrong. But the one thing I wasn't expecting was getting completely smitten with the place. I have a new crush on America. I left my heart in San Francisco, I could actually feel the drag in my chest as we sped away from it on the BART, and then went on to leave other vital organs in Portland and Seattle. I loved small things (peanut butter milkshakes; beatnik bookshops with sections labelled "Anarchy", "Class War" and "Muckraking"; endless coffee; smoking cloves on a balcony in Seattle looking at the sunset over the Olympic mountains) and big things (the way they've got proper, vast, breathtaking wilderness; the way everyone we met seemed so politicised, principled and angry with the government and generally not apathetic). Of course there was bad stuff too, like beggars with one leg and the hollowness of Hollywood, but I was expecting the bad stuff. I wasn't expecting the love, so it knocked me over.

People, please help remind me why I love London. I do. It's always mixed with hate, but every time I think I've had enough of this city it shows me something amazing or tantalises me with a story, and I feel the rush of being at the centre of things and forgive it for another while. That feeling will come back given a little time, I know.

I feel completely stateless right now. I don't want to move back to Ireland any time soon, and it isn't quite the Ireland I left anyway. I feel dislocated from London, and I've always known doing the London Thing wasn't forever, and I can't think of anywhere else in the UK I'd really like to live. And everyone knows brand-new shiny crushes are not to be trusted. Where on earth do I belong?
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I feel weird. Doing displacement activity (I cleaned a wall earlier. Just one wall. In the bathroom) but not sure what I'm trying to displace. It feels like summer in my flat, which is great, but it's bringing back the way I felt for much of last summer, all twitchy and paralysed, wandering from room to room incapable of actually doing anything. And I'm wondering how on earth I managed to finish writing my book in that atmosphere. Oh yeah, that's right, I didn't have internet access.

It's not helping that I've packed my suitcase already, which I normally never do till 3am the night before I go somewhere, so part of me is convinced there's no point doing anything because I'm clearly about to walk out the door to the airport.

And postwodehouse.com is down. There was a server problem, and they're restoring from backups, but so far they've only got up to domains beginning with C. So there will be a Friday Update, but it'll be a Saturday Update instead.

Maybe the Chemical Brothers will help knock some of the ditheriness out of my system.

But what's the good of all these gigs and fun and socialising and experiences, if I don't make something out of it all? Gah. I should be writing.

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