" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

October 21, 2007


Went to the 20th Bill Duthie Memorial lecture tonight as part of the Writer's Festival. It was Eleanor Wachtel, the host of CBC's Writers & Company speaking about the late great canadian fiction writer Carol Shields. Her writing. Her way of being. Her kindness. Their friendship.

I don't know about you but whenever I go anywhere, there's usually at least one thing that stands out for me, that I take away, and tonight it was the way Wachtel spoke about Carol Shields' emphasis on the meaning of the word home. How do we know when we're home? What does it feel like? Is it possible to feel at home regardless of where you are geographically? What does that call upon inside? Effortless, at peace, contented, engaged. Comfortable.

For Shields, home was whenever she was writing. Nothing brought her more satisfaction. It was her salvation during her battle with breast cancer when the illness forced her to be overly self absorbed. It was her refuge. It's her legacy.

I do not feel like I am home. I have lived here my entire life and I have never felt like it's quite right, especially between October and March. Every year when the monsoons hit, it feels less and less like I want this to remain my home during those 6 months.

In so many ways it is the right place: multicultural, incredible ethnic restaurants, festivals, cultural activities, relatively safe, naturally beautiful, friendships. But, psychologically it has never felt right.

I contrast the way I feel here, with the way I feel in New Mexico and I feel like I'm in the wrong place.

The closest I can come to describing the difference is the feeling of relief I have been aware of when I've stepped off the plane for the past 2 summers in New Mexico. I notice the sense of relief. I feel relieved there. I feel like the sunshine soothes me. Makes everything feel better. More hopeful. Vancouver doesn't feel like that to me. Vancouver feels sad to me. Is it because I feel like it's time to shed the entire first half of my life - including all the sadness associated with it?

But at the same time, I'm extremely aware of the reality behind the saying, Wherever you go, there you are!