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California, New Zealand. Two passports, two homelands. And detours.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Homefires - the word just stuck with me. A few months ago, I found this song I love, Crooked Legs, by a Canadian band called The Acorn, and towards the end there is this phrase - not looking behind to ensure the homefires aren't shrinking - that stopped me cold in the new city I was walking through when I heard it. Is this my deal? Have I lit too many homefires? Am I wandering around trying to blow life into them? But which ones do you let burn down to coals, and eventually cool to warmed ash in the mind (one time, when I was 25, I lived in this little town in Maine, and I was waitressing in a lobster house, and it was early autumn, and everything was golden and beautiful, and I almost bought an '82 Honda Civic) and chose to have both feet, finally and totally, planted on one side of the equator and definately, absolutely, truly not the other?

I started collecting little pieces of writing these last few months of being a snowbird. Then realised, with deflation, that my mind was becoming some kind of chick-lit metaphor for the brown, second-hand store handbag I am always at war with before I get on a plane between New Zealand and California - my homefires places - shaken out and emptied onto a kitchen table and looked over before the picking through for whatever could be worth holding on to, in a time in my life that - 11 months after completing an MA in creative writing - is now un-linear and veering dangerously towards directionless. I am aware that at 33, there is a lot of stuff in the handbag that needs to get ditched and maybe even set fire to ritualistically or flung into a sunset ove the ocean before continuing on. But along with the lost earrings, numbers scrawled on the backs of faded receipts, unpaid bills, chewing gum wrappers, dead AAA batteries, and expired Workplace First Aid certificates, there are a few valuables that need to be saved.

So my mind: brown handbag. This blog: kitchen table.


  1. I love you Gwyn. The way you put into words the millions of profound tidbits that bounce around that brilliant brain of yours. I'm SO GLAD you finally started blogging. I know this will not only be an excellent vehicle by which to create using that gift of the king's English that you've been so blessed with, but it will also serve to teach you a thing or two about yourself and the world around you. And I get to be in your audience!!!! YAY! Today, I found that legal sized paper collage of pictures of you, me, Vieve and Katie from just after high school and smiled from ear to ear. It's been a long road. But it was only yesterday. Love you!

  2. Keep them coming! I love you friend. Miss you lots and remember when you wear your slippers there is alway a fire lite in Cali. through prayer and a beautiful friendship!

  3. Mary and I, snowbound in Indiana, rarely doffing our comfy-pants and wool socks, wish you a decidedly happy holiday, Gwyneth. Holidays need no "direction" from us; they provide a sort of apparatus for happiness. Who cares if it's somewhat contrived sometimes?

    Oh, and I believe you can recycle AAA batteries.

  4. Thank you friends. Andy, they have to be rechargable.

  5. Blogger is lying to you- this is actually Jeff. I'll like you and even read your blog, if more of the same is to follow.

  6. I just noticed the day on which you wrote this blog. It was a good day. It's a great blog.