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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Notes on Living … Away

Yesterday – or is it really today? – is my one-year anniversary in Prague. The day doesn’t matter; the number of days makes all the difference. Three-hundred sixty-five (or six) and counting.

It’s like this: Nat Newton, whom I met in Gozo and who’d been living on the island for several years, once said that you don’t get the true sense of a country unless you live in it for a full year. At the time I didn’t agree; surely one could get a handle on a country in two months, or six, tops.

A month or so later I moved off the island, and into an Alpine valley, where I stayed for a full year. And when I got back to the USA, I realized (of the many realizations I slipped into, like pirate DNA infiltrating cancer cells, through the course of just a few weeks) that I did not have as strong a sense of Gozo as I had France.

It mattered nought that I had just returned from France, and Gozo was a year behind these fresh memories. Being away is just “being away” unless you accept (and are accepted) into a community. Here in Prague, where I’ve experienced both, I have both an otherly place feeling and being right at home.

Perhaps its the work that I do, which I truly enjoy and don’t see as “the job”; and then there is the time I have to write, and the depth in which I’m now able to write. Things have come together, and it’s because, I’m coming to recognize, I don’t live in America.

Will I live there again? Probably. If there’s anything someone who knows me well can identify about my personality (or is it a trait? a habit? maybe even a sickness?) is that after awhile, I’m done with things and need “out-of-town” stimulation. Fortunately, I know this takes a while when the going is good. Years, even.

And if it’s not going GOOD? Then minutes.

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