Strange as it might seem, I have been writing posts on this blog for over eight years. These past eight years have seen many, many changes, all of which I’ve recorded here in one way or another: children have grown up, gone off to university, and even gotten married; poems and stories have been published in a host of international journals, plus I’ve published three novels, a poetry play and a poetry collection. Together, you my readers, and I have worked through the process of writing a manuscript, finding an agent, losing an agent, finding a publisher, losing a publisher and then, thankfully, finding a publisher again (shout out for Ward Wood!). I’ve discovered the wonders of writing retreats like Anam Cara, where I just spent another idyllic and productive week. I’ve made and tried to support friends I’ve met through the writing world and through the blogosphere, not to mention those I’ve found in Cambodia and SE Asia as my work and passions led me to that part of the world. I’ve recounted my travels, shown lots of photos, and introduced you to the students who have encouraged me to create my literacy NGO, Writing Through. Most everything that has happened to me during these eight years has been reflected right here. There have been many changes, but there has been one constant — home. Although growing up in New York, I have lived in London for 26 years. This is where I have raised my kids and this is where, in many ways, I have raised myself. London is more home to me than anywhere else.
But one month from now, we’ll be shutting the door on this chapter of our lives and moving out of London. There are many good reasons for our doing this — some financial, many familial. But some of it has been my own damn fault, I must admit. Most everyone knows that over the last few years, I have spent less and less time in London as my teaching and writing take me more and more to the other side of the planet. In 2015, I never once was in London for more than three weeks at a time. But still….
I am trying hard to look forward and not backwards. Certainly, no one will cry for us as we set off to spend half of the year at our home on Martha’s Vineyard, a beautiful island off the coast of Massachusetts, and the other half of the year in Siem Reap, Cambodia. And of course, there will be trips to New York and California to see family, and extended trips in and out of London. I’m not giving up London. I’m just giving up my residence here. Again, but still….
So the next month will be strange. I’ll try to keep working on the next novel and the next poetry collection. I’ll try to keep Writing Through moving forward, sending more workshops to more organisations, reaching more at-risk students and adults throughout SE Asia. I’ll try to keep writing my blog. But the next month will be emotional, no matter what I do. And now that I’ve written a blog about it, I guess it’s really true.
What is the meaning of home? To be honest, I don’t really know. I seem to have so many of them. But I’m pretty sure that it has very little to do with where your stuff is. I think it has everything to do with where your heart is.
PS: The featured image above was taken out the window of the restaurant called Josie’s Lakeview House, nestled in the valley of the Healy Pass on the Beara Peninsula in Ireland, where I spent my birthday this past week. It’s a photo of me sitting on one side of a window, staring at something beautiful just beyond but still out of reach. It just seems fitting, somehow.