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There's no place like home - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
There's no place like home
Talking of Wolvercote, vinaigrettegirl reminded me of a walk I did with one of my partners when we were living in Oxford, before the -- and the -- and when we -- and then it all -- and, and.

We walked from Marston to Wolvercote, and from there down over Port Meadow, picking our way through the remainder of floods in the gathering dark, and by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Jericho and environs. A lovely walk, just at this kind of time of year, with the air bright and knife-edged and glittering with yesterday's rain. And thinking of that takes me back to a later time, crossing the river in the fog with a new partner on the way to watch a meteorite shower, and I felt that we were standing in a place out of time, on a bridge between worlds, bound up in clouds and the hopes half-glimpsed like indistinct shapes in the darkness, and he felt ... well, I never really knew what he felt at all.

The conversation that reminded me of this started with Kidlington, though, and I've never really been to Kidlington, only passed through it one time when I started cycling North because it was out of Oxford, and I had no idea where I was going except Away but I got to -- what's the one after Kidlington? -- before giving up and turning round because it was dark and cold and raining. And on the way back I passed a sign to "The Midlands" and burst into tears because The Midlands was the closest to Home at that point, where my parents were, and I wanted more than anything else in the world to go home.

I can't remember why I was feeling like that, there were so many things that hurt in those days -- was it me who broke my heart? did I have a heart to break? -- but I'm older and harder now and if I have to run away and hide I stay out in the open where nobody can tell I'm hiding. But I think it's just that sometimes you just have to go as far as you can go in one direction before you remember that you don't have anywhere else to run to because the things you are running away from are tied up in a bundle of rags on your back and the things you are looking for are right there in your own back yard. And if they weren't there in the first place, why then, you never really lost them.

Now playing: Paul Brady, "The Long Goodbye"

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kaberett From: kaberett Date: September 20th, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hugs an' stuff*
juggzy From: juggzy Date: September 20th, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nah! No hugs. *Applause*

That's the clearest evocation of it, whatever it is, that I've read yet. It is moving on, losing places, maybe. That's what part of it is, anyway.

J4's like a word technician trying to pin down in clear, verbal jewels, those stages in our lives. Or something.
juggzy From: juggzy Date: September 20th, 2004 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also a sense of futures yet unfelt in revisiting those times past when the current futures are unkown. Hic
kaberett From: kaberett Date: September 20th, 2004 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeeees. I know. But still, she gets hugs an' stuff because I feel like hugging her and because she deserves hugs and I wish I could express myself in a way that sounded remotely close to her.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Hugs are cool too. :)

I wanted to say something about finding your own voice rather than wishing you could express yourself in a way that sounded like me; but then, everybody borrows bits of other people's styles and expressions and idioms as they go along, it's how we learn to speak and write at all, and how we learn to say the things we want to say, and eventually it grows into a voice that's our own. I'm hoping mine will, one day.
kaberett From: kaberett Date: September 21st, 2004 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
And here we get into a bit where I stare blankly at "sounded remotely close to her" and try and work out how to express that the thought that came out badly actually meant... oh, I don't know, that I'll be able to find a voice and write pretty stuff? I don't know. The concepts there in my head, but it won't come out. It's shy. *frowns*

Anyway. Hugs an' stuff.
juggzy From: juggzy Date: September 21st, 2004 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I now realise that I sounded harsh. You have my abject apologies for the miscommunication, and please understand that no correction was intended. I would be very happy if you could just forget this little incident.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 20th, 2004 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
J4's like a word technician trying to pin down in clear, verbal jewels, those stages in our lives.

Everything! I'm trying to pin down everything in words. Not to limit it, but so that people can say to other people "this, this is what I mean". And partly because it's only when I put it into words that I can understand the feeling and, paradoxically, by pinning it down, let it go.

I just wish I didn't have to steal so many of my words from other people, other places.
geekette8 From: geekette8 Date: September 21st, 2004 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking about your wonderful way with words last night on my cycle ride home from work. I really enjoy reading these descriptive pieces. Out of interest, do you write them in one go, or is there lots of editing and re-phrasing and re-working put into them as well?

More *hugs*, too.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
do you write them in one go, or is there lots of editing and re-phrasing and re-working put into them as well?

Usually more or less in one go (with just minor tweaks), which is why it all sounds so stream-of-consciousness; but sometimes it just won't come out right & it takes more hammering and chiselling to get it into the shape I want. Generally though I find that if I have to fiddle with it for too long I lose my grip on the feeling I was trying to set down. (Slippery little buggers, feelings.)

Glad you like the writing anyway...
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j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not an engineer! Of any description. Engineers suxx0r.
ewx From: ewx Date: September 20th, 2004 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I keep reading "Kidlington" as "Klingon".
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: September 20th, 2004 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's what comes of seeing the "fnord" in "Oxfnord".
Only ever been to Kidlington once, and that was while hitching down the A34 many years ago. I did manage to get a lift from Kidlington roundabout as far as Cowley with a very posh fellow in a black Luton van, which had two vintage motorcycles in the back.
Turns out the aforementioned aristo was none other than Lord Hesketh, former Formula One team owner and drinking buddy of Hunt the Shunt. Why he was going to Cowley was anyone's guess. Can't imagine him heading up to Blackbird Leys to practise his handbrake turns though.
sion_a From: sion_a Date: September 21st, 2004 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
What would someone with motoring connections be doing going to Cowley? Well, there's one bleedin' obvious guess....
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: September 21st, 2004 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, yes, but I wouldn't have thought old Hesketh would have been using Morris/British Leyland bits in his cars and bikes.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: September 20th, 2004 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Port Meadow Yes, I remember that. I took a wander in Oxford, a year ago, and found that the University no longer has that hold on me: the colleges, the history, the dreaming spires, it's all gone cold. Probably as well, because those memories are probably best left behind me. But I shrugged off the odd disconnected mood, walked up Walton Street and down Walton Well Road, and I found that Port Meadow is still there.

Or rather, still here, still a place to run on winter mornings, the still air, reflections of horses across the water, solitude and running with my breath trailing behind me. Still the place I walked, hand in hand with someone who has long forgotten me, walked on a heavy summer night, the river like a mirror and swans swimming in the strange reflections of the mist. All the way in silence, to the light and chatter of the Trout at Godstow.

Yes, you're right: it is a place out of time.
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j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
The university certainly had a hold on me but I think it's faded into the city now. I like knowing where the colleges are, and knowing which ones you can wander into -- in Cambridge I feel like Jude the Obscure, with all the doors of the colleges of Christminster forever closed to me -- but that's more to do with feeling at home in the city as a whole. When I look at 'my' college I don't really feel anything; but then so little of my university life actually happened there. I would probably be more moved by seeing "sable%" on an orange mono screen again.

But the city... sigh.

Sometime I want to spend a day or two just walking around the city, remembering old things and noticing new things. Maybe alone, or maybe in quiet company; maybe with a camera, or maybe just with my eyes and my heart.
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j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oxford and Cambridge are the only places I've ever lived as an adult; I don't have strong feelings about the places we lived when I was small (Uxbridge, Crawley Down, Bramhall) because all I ever saw of them was home and school, and occasional shops and streets glimpsed from the end of a parent's hand.

Burton on the Wolds is an odd one, though; I hated the primary school I went to there, I felt utterly trapped in the village when I was chasing the holy grail of a Social Life as a teenager... but now the space it occupies in my psycho(moo)geography is just endless summer, playing fields and dens and penny-sweets and bicycles and sunlight falling on the hedgerows, and the thick, heavy quiet.

I'll write about it in a separate entry, maybe ... or a book ... too many images drowning me as I try to think about it.

first sight of Oxford

I first went there when I knew I was going to be applying to study there. It was pouring with rain, and I didn't care, I was in love. Every brick and every door and every small green square of grass. It was real in a way that I still can't quantify -- a sense of the sublime? A sense of human history? -- and I felt as though I could be part of it, and it could be part of me. And when I finally got there it was everything I thought it would be, and more. I suppose it's the first place I truly loved ... which is probably why it had the power to break my heart so utterly and devastatingly so many times, but also why my mind keeps coming back to it.

Maybe one day I'll move back there, and open a second-hand bookshop, and keep lots of cats, and challenge random strangers to games of Scrabble in the Harcourt Arms.

I can be very quiet company.

brrm From: brrm Date: September 21st, 2004 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't say it with words, so I'll say it with pictures.
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: September 21st, 2004 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Like the Oxford photos.... I like your modified Newton too! Mind if I add you to the friends list?
brrm From: brrm Date: September 21st, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure, go ahead!
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: September 21st, 2004 11:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Cheers, always good to see someone else with loads of obsolete Macs!
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juggzy From: juggzy Date: September 21st, 2004 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it in a dirty brown overcoat?
j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
When it does that it means it wants feeding. Give it a bootable disk of some description to chew on.
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j4 From: j4 Date: September 21st, 2004 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah well, feel free to use it as an interesting doorstop then. Or a very small coffee table. Or a fishtank.

Or give it to brrm to play with; Macs like him.
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