Saturday, 21 April 2012

There's No Place Like Home, Wherever That Is

The jet lag's over, the cake's been eaten, the books have been signed (scrawled, handwriting's still a mess).

Now, after a brilliant trip home to the US, which included the American launch of At Yellow Lake, I'm back home in the UK.

Home. Weird that I used the word twice in the last sentence, and was referring to places in two different countries, on two different continents.  "Home" for me is, in fact, more than two places. I grew up in Peterson, Minnesota,

spending my summers in Northern Wisconsin. (Here's our wonderful cabin, taken before the terrible storm of 1 July, 2011)

 I lived in several other parts of the US as a university student, and then moved to San Francsico in my eary twenties. As soon as I arrived there I thought, "This is it! I've found it!  This will be my home forever."

Forever lasted about five years. Then I met the man I  later married and moved to the UK, ending up eventually in Brighton (Hove, actually.)

 This is my "new" home, where I've been for almost 25 years, and where my children have been born and raised.

Earlier this week I read Catherine MacPhail's brilliant post on "setting" in UKYA, the new blog that celebrates British YA writers. She talked about the importance of using the setting of her home community in Scotland, and I felt a twinge of jealousy that Catherine could place so many of her tense and edgy novels in a part of the world she has known all her life. I envy that sense of rootedness, just as I've always envied people (and not only writers) who are able to thrive and flourish without having to go through the trauma of moving, the heartache of always having to say goodbye...

Mom and me at Bookshelf, Winona, Minnesota, USA
...something that never gets easier!


  1. So so true. Having a community that knows and values you, friends you love and trust, family close by, and never having to say goodbye--yep, I envy that, too. Course, seeing the world is a nice side benefit.

  2. AND building "homes" in other places also has it's upside. I'm so lucky to feel at home here in the UK, too. Just a lot of people to miss, wherever I am!