Wednesday, January 25, 2012


We'll be heading home in an hour or so as I must face the Toad work on the morrow.

Which raises the question, in our case, as to where home actually is. Like Willy Loman we are always sort of temporary, but unlike Willy I don't think either of us quite feel that way.

This puts me in mind of an old fellow at a job interview I endured more than 30 years ago - I think he was some kind of parent-governor - who challenged my desire to teach in a place far from where I was born (Rotherham!) telling me I needed roots. It's difficult to represent the astonishing avidity he managed to inject into the vowel sound of that little word, but let me tell you he almost bit it in two, such was his enthusiasm for it/them. I remember thinking that if such roots held me back as surely as they had done to him, I would choose to avoid them. Of course, in those days I didn't have the courage to say that aloud, more's the pity.

These ramblings have been prompted in part by my reading of Flannery O'Connor's essay The Regional Writer. It was clearly of some importance to her to be seen as a Georgia writer, which is particularly ironic considering her Catholic affiliations. But then, possibly not so. One of the odd benefits of a Catholic upbringing is a peculiar sense of internationalism which never seems to get in the way of where you actually are. We had a picture of Pope Paul VI on the wall when I was a little lad, and there was never any doubt he outranked Queen Elizabeth by quite a distance. Mind you, the royals were pretty low on any league table of those we regarded as our betters, so that's not saying much.

I suppose any writing worth its salt will have a sense of the local, otherwise it will feel like the unanchored observations of a tourist. Even when Shakespeare's in Illyria he's really pottering around on the south bank of the Thames, or gazing into the Avon.

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