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by Michael

We are home from our holiday and feeling much refreshed. It was a lovely break in a quiet vale in the south Cotswalds.

Preparing to come home, both Sophie and I experienced momentary flashes of thinking of our old flat as home. We still made it back to the right flat in London, but it seems it takes more than two months to make a home a permanent fixture in one’s psyche – or at least, a fixture that can withstand four nights away.

It makes me think what I consider to be home, or where I consider myself to be ‘at home’. I spent a lot of time at home as a child and teenager – my family wasn’t one for big days out, or evening entertainments, and I wasn’t sociable or cool enough to get invited to lots of parties. But although home back then wasn’t a very nice place to be, I am comfortable being at home, or more accurately, I am uncomfortable if I have not been home for a while.

But ‘home’ in this case is perhaps more a piece of mind. The familiar acts as an anchor around which the vague seas of chance and spontaneity can surge and pull, but only comfortably – for me – when home is in sight.

Of course, I’d like to think that I am at home where I am right now – writing, at the keyboard. I’ve lost that sense in the past few years, as I have written less. But I hope my new job, which starts in November (“Science Writer”, did I mention that?), will help rehabilitate my sense of writing as my home.

This got me thinking about returning home, going back. I can’t go back to my family home. My family moved often as we grew up, and my parents have separated, divorced and separately, divorcedly, moved many times since I left home. I don’t feel at home at my mother’s home, and I have never been to my father’s current home. Of course, I have my own home now, but that is now – I don’t have to go back to get there.

I have in mind a play/script about a young man who – after some traumatic event in someone else’s life but in his childhood – returns home to confront his surviving parent. The drama rests on the idea that his life stopped – or paused – when he left and he has to go back to pick up the thread and continue.

Tonight, I think I will double that premise, and develop a new script with two characters going back – in whatever different senses – to pick up where they left off. And it is my hope that, after about 5 (maybe more) years of searching for a sustainable way to sustain my living (i.e. find a decent job), I will be able to go back to the last chartable point at which I was a writer/playwright and pick up from there; press forward with my development as a writer of scripts as well as press releases and science-based writings.

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