I travel from place to place. I settle for a while. I am settled, for the moment. I think about travelling to new places and also places I have been. A few places have felt like home. I belonged there. I keep memories of these homes like souvenirs, and every now and then I unpack them and look at them and feel the tightening of a slack rope. I remember belonging, and keep that feeling too like a souvenir, in some ways more precious than my actual memories of people and places and things that I did. Belonging. I treasure it. I search for more of it. I travel from place to place. I settle for a while. I am settled, for the moment. I think about... belonging.
I am fond of maps. I often travelled. When I left it a place became a space again, and probably a place for someone else. Some places don't exist anymore, they remain spaces. I opften found myself mapping that space, between being rooted in one place and unrooted.
The room pitches and spins. My arms splay out, and I drop into nothing. It takes a long time. Like the journey of light from stars that, by the time we put an eye to the telescope, have pinwheeled into the darkness. I reach for something, anything to hold on to. My recollections of past homes seem solid until I try to put any weight on them.
Uncanniness was first explored psychologically by Ernst Jentsch in a 1906 essay, 'On the Psychology of the Uncanny'. Jentsch defines the uncanny as: being a product of "intellectual uncertainty; so that the uncanny would always, as it were, be something one does not know one’s way about in. The better oriented in his environment a person is, the less readily will he get the impression of something uncanny in regard to the objects and events in it.
Post number 18
Sometimes a place makes you feel more at home than home itself. Sitting in the corner of a library, reading a book. Or on a bench in the park. I recorded this song a few years ago about suddenly feeling so connected to a place that, for a short while, I didn't actually want to go home.
These streets are familiar, the cobblestone patterns and manicured roundabouts, and the people zipping past on bikes, chatting and quarreling like birds. I walk through the city, self-conscious but happy, vaguely aware of the direction I’m headed. Down through the park with the musical sculpture. Over a footbridge that crosses the tracks. Somewhere in a drawer at home I have photos of me as a boy running around that sculpture and standing on tip-toe to look down at the tracks. I enter a district of small boutique shops with neat window displays tucked under their awnings. These were here last time. These I remember. Landmarks of a place that was never quite home.
When I visit the Dutch city where I was born, I always have a mixed feeling of being both a tourist and a native. I recognise some streets and buildings and places. Walking or cycling by these personal landmarks almost makes me feel like I'm home.
There is a dilapidated house standing in the fields behind my house. It always scared my children a little, while holding a certain magnetic pull for them as well. We used to call it the witch's house. It looks old and tumble-down, but that's charming too, and I'm always reminded of it whenever I drive past an empty cottage somewhere in the west of Ireland - another witch's house.
My memories of home don't match what's there anymore. It has changed over the years, of course, while my memories are locked-down. I took those memories with me when I left, and in a way that's where my old home really exists, now. In my mind's eye.
Post number 3
"Heidegger describes humans as drifting along groundless in life but the anxiety of this drifting is concealed by our self-assured everyday interpretation of life. As long as we can remain convinced by the taken-for-granted appearance of life, we create the impression of ground, covering over the uncanniness of existence."
- Greg Madison, The End of Belonging.
- Greg Madison, The End of Belonging.