Saturday, 13 September 2008

Should we expect the details to be told for us, when we journey? These stories are our responsibilities, the to-ing and fro-ing narratives, the pathways to the haunted houses are inscribed by us. Others, the outsiders, may look at the end product and expect an answer from themselves, but the trajectories and arcs that take us through the skies like moving night stars are etched by our own trembling hands.

I’ve given up on the obtuse, the ostentatiously, deliberately obtuse. I used to write whole weeks full of pseudo-cryptic phenomenologies, dank little continental philosophies. I would line them up in my blog as though they were stale pastries in a dimly lit backerei. I was prone also to removed metaphors, to nonsense of the kind I still advertise effortlessly here.

But all of this now is purposeful, as I build grander (in my mind) constructions that require a dedication, both of writer and reader. How much time I have to continue with this craft will be determined by the distractions of occupation, of having to earn my rent. In the afternoon Berlin sun, this does not seem too arduous.

Time in England was brief and left me feeling a little hollow, a new sadness approached me during that trip. It was a return in which I travelled a lot, endless bus journeys up and down the M1 and a fair share of cross-city trains too, but it was not the travelling that unsettled. I was tired, my sleeping and patterns were irregular (or non-existent), but these cannot be wholly blamed. I suppose this feeling is one partly of homesickness, but also regret and apprehension at the new life. The three month experiment has finished, holidays are over. I have chosen to live here now, and any return, to Newcastle at least, would be a step backwards.

The landscapes have changed, certainly. Friendships are still friendships but they operate in different contexts. You are the ‘gone away’ one now. A guilt is ever near with homecomings, I cannot strike that balance between enthusiasm and disappointment, in trying to look in two directions I either understate my happiness abroad, or overstate my vindication for leaving. Each is reasonable, but when projected in the negative it becomes a false indication of the origins of the judgement.

But back here, I gradually gain a real fondness for this neighbourhood. The concrete boxes, swerves of tramline and cobbles through-roads felt like home as I cycled back from the airport. The streets were quiet and the house was unlocked. I fell through the frontdoor exhausted, thinking of the stories that must be written. The next day we embarked upon a frantic, hysterical house-cleaning. One week away was enough to make us realise this at least. Here is home, now.