We are torn – we probably always will be – between people and places the world over. It is one of the pros and cons of post (post?) modern life. We can travel, relocate, see cultures and places as far away from home as we can get without space travel…

And I suppose, if really dedicated, space travel is not entirely off the cards.

Scrolling through my facebook feed this morning I saw, side by side, a friend complaining that she’s run out of after-sun gel, having gotten burned today, and the next post was a splendid snow angel (like a work of art really).

I have second cousins, friends I haven’t seen in 20 years, friends I have actually kept up with for 20 years (okay, maybe just one of those – but I’m only 27), in-laws and in-law-in-laws, siblings and their friends, people I only know online (blogs, twitter, etc), people I used to fancy myself in love with, people (probably… possibly) who fancied me, one grandfather (kudos, Grandpa, mastering technology at 87 and counting!) and one parent, teachers, etc. Not to tout the joys of facebook – hey, if you get along without it more power to you – but we have become international and there is a freedom in that: we can live anywhere and still keep in contact, in some form, with most people.

But there is also a sadness – we will never be near all the people we love.

The novel I’m writing is about a restless traveller finding a community, a home, a place to put down roots. The characters thrash out the virtues of staying in one place over visiting and living in several (or numerous) places in the world. Of course we don’t have to choose between adventure and meaningful community (especially in NZ with all those mountains to ski off of), but in order to understand another culture (especially one with a different language) you really have to live in a place for a while. Obviously this is an quandary close to my heart. We are coming up to a year in France and the language is just starting to make sense, the culture is still well beyond our comprehension and we certainly haven’t tried all the different types of cheese.

And yet I miss home. I don’t want to leave France. I just want to be in two places at once. Is that so much to ask?

Actually I would quite like to be in Vancouver, Columbus, Boca Raton, Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton (odd, isn’t it?), Paris, London and Hong Kong… all at the same time. And now to get realistic: I want to be an hour’s affordable public transportation from all those places.

But I have this bad feeling about the teleport technology. Damn it.

So I’ll write out my issues, to the best of my ability, in a novel which may never be published. I tried to write a tag line for it yesterday – the hook, the one sentence sales pitch…

This is what I came up with, and trying to be objective I thought, wow-dull:

Restless D inherits her grandmother’s mysterious estate and ditches her job and boyfriend to live in a small town for a while – but putting down roots starts to tempt her.

maybe if I add this on the end:

…putting down roots starts to tempt her, almost as much as Tom the tortured music teacher.

Better, no? Okay, so I just need to keep working on it. Fortunately, the hook doesn’t need to be ready till the novel is. Unfortunately, that’s a while away.

But it’s a snowy saturday and now’s as good a time as any. I’m polishing chapter one. This is edit #3.  Yikes. Better get on.

2 thoughts to “the great divide

  • Paula

    Dear Amy.
    Interesting subject. I ‘d love to read this.

  • Roland Clarke

    Great post … and love the new pitch wording, and can’t wait to read the book even if I write crime. Would love to live in France but also have the urge to move on. Nearest was living in Quebec and Ontario as a re-located Brit. Now almost housebound which keeps my US wife away from her family in Idaho. Fortunately I got to travel but not her in same way.

    Good luck and good writing

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