Monday, 28 February 2011


It's time to get used to my own voice.

Someone who would be a firm friend in another (or later) life recommended I read Book of Clouds by Chloe Aridjis (pictured right - she has a degree in 19th century French poetry and magic. Who knew?). Having been told it perfectly captured the feelings of a young woman wandering in an alien city, I had been saving it for when I moved to an alien city of my own. I have to admit I was initially underwhelmed,  but gradually it has become a comforting daily go-to, and I'll be sad to finish it later today.

It's got me thinking a lot about time and space, things I've previously only thought about very academically. I've recently started living in a new time and space, and I'm slowly making my peace with it. I've been here before, so there's none of the heady excitement of a newcomer this time. But nor am I home.

I know your place shouldn't be your person, but if a house plant can drop all its flowers because you move it three inches to the left doesn't it make perfect sense that humans, too, are products of their environment? Book of Clouds centres on a Mexican woman's courtship with Berlin, a city she has chosen for herself but can't quite accept as her own. I flirt with Tokyo in very much the same way, running hot and cold in waves of jealousy and disownership, giddy infatuation and tired tolerance.

A moment of giddy infatuation: standing by the station, eyes closed, trying to identify the source of the singing I could hear on the wind. It was a festival, I don't recall which one, and this song was competing with the indefatigable chirping of the station jingle and the hoarse calls of the men at the vegetable stand ten feet away.

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