17th July 2015
Someone asked me recently at the close of my week in Scotland how I felt about leaving. Truth is, it is always a gut-wrench, but I'm not sure what exactly that has to do with. I don't use the term lightly, either. There is a distinct sensation of being torn inside as my rental car pulls me for the last time away from the sights I love and carries me off to the airport. Some part of me stops here and won't re-awaken until I am back in another rental car driving up from Glasgow, stopping for tea in the kind of tea shops I write about or dream about, just very ordinary tea shops. But they belong to this place as I do.
And during that future trip I will climb Dunadd again, I will wander around the Kilmartin Museum and drive someone else to the cottage on the shore that I fantasise about living in. I will wonder, as I always do, if it will ever happen and wonder if I could come back.
At customs in USA, I show my green card and they take my fingerprints because they know I am not one of them. I could apply for citizenship and it would be granted. But something has always held me back. I live in this amazing place called Aspen, home to world renowned scenery, and world class theatre and music. It is such a privilege to live here, and yet - what about that part of me still slumbering in Argyll? Aspen is gorgeous, but it doesn't live in me. I am an outsider here, both culturally and because I don't bleed for this place. No gut-wrench.
I'm not the first to experience this double-edged life. I can barely think of a writer who lived in the place they grew up in and kept writing about it. It takes a certain severe longing to motivate that pen, and that's why I have to wonder about moving back to Scotland - would I ever write again? And would it matter?