Home is Where the Heart is ~ Truth or Cliché?

Where is your home?

Is it the bricks and mortar or the shack on the beach which you currently live in or is it a far away place you only dream of?

Where ever you live, do you frequently think of the place you were born or where your family roots are and how much does it colour your everyday life. What do you feel when you return?

Is a sense of home passed down the generations?

With so many people migrating to the far corners of the world and others immigrating to the UK to start a new life, and with an ‘ex pat’ community thriving in pockets from Dubai to Spain and from Gibraltar to the Falkland Islands and taking a little bit of Britishness with them, where is ‘home’ in our society?

Is a nation the sum of the diverse peoples within its community, or is there something tangible which identifies the characteristics and ‘make up’ of  national identity?  Or is a sense of ‘home’ far deeper than that?

When people cry ‘no more immigration’ are they just missing the point along the way, when looking at history in its wider context?

I am reading a novel at the moment where one of the main characters has no sense of belonging anywhere and I find that slightly disturbing. Through personal circumstances and loss she had no idea where to call home, but isn’t that a need deep within all of us? Or is it? I find myself secretly longing for the main character, Casey, to find a place to take root, but is that reflecting a personal need of my own?

In my first novel Riduna, it was always my intention to have home to be ‘Riduna itself,’ the island of Alderney in the Channel Islands, however far away many of my characters reached. Riduna would always remain in their hearts. For Harriet, leaving Riduna was a wrench; a painful parting from which she never recovered. The island remained deep within her, colouring everything she did, and yet she was also fearful to return.

With my second novel ‘Ancasta ~ Guide me Swiftly Home,’ the story took me to the next generation of the Newton family, and even I was surprised as to how powerfully Harriet’s daughter Sarah was affected by her visits to the islands of her mother and father’s births. How an unexpected trip turned into a quest to learn more, which in turn became a longing, equally as strong as her mother’s.

Is love for a place unconditional and as one fellow blogger wrote recently, ‘seen through rose tinted spectacles?’ We do don’t we? We remember only the good bits of a place, a holiday or an event and try to push anything negative into the back of our minds. I suppose that’s human nature.

As the author I had the power to decide whether Harriet or even her daughter Sarah returned to Riduna. As many authors find, the characters themselves led me to follow certain paths, which I had not necessarily predetermined. I could have ignored their will and written it in a completely different direction. What a thought!

There has always been migration and displacement in the world, both forced and chosen, but is our yearning for a particular place to call home, which makes up our psyche, inherent or have we been indoctrinated; in other words is it nurture or nature?

What do you think? Where is your home?


Filed under Alderney, Ancasta, Book reading, Planning a novel, Riduna, Writing a novel

2 responses to “Home is Where the Heart is ~ Truth or Cliché?

  1. A post that is very pertinent to my expat situation 🙂 Some jolly good questions here, and my recent experiences would suggest that there are no easy answers… I will always feel that England is home (more specifically, Canterbury), but I have a friend who grew up in the same area as me who feels more ‘at home’ in Istanbul! Like friends, lovers and life-partners, there are some places that just ‘fit’ us perfectly and will aways be part of us, even when we are many miles away… Think you might have inspired a new post for my blog, Diana 🙂

    • Sounds like we’re on the same wavelength Lucy. I feel drawn to Alderney, my family roots, but my sister does not have the same feelings. Odd. That’s a beautiful way to describe it… a place just ‘fits.’Look forward to your next post:-)

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