Sunday, 18 September 2011

Get lost

Not far from where I live in northwest England is a small village. Outsiders pay little if any attention to it. Very probably, if you looked close, it wouldn’t seem to offer anything different from other villages nearby. But I love it. I find everything about it charming, fascinating. I spend as much time there as my complicated life will allow. Going there fills a gaping, hungry hole in me. The hole comes back often, so I know it’s roads well.
I’ve learned that it’s nothing like every other village you might drive past.  Twitch the curtains a bit, peel back the wallpaper, dig in the flower beds, and you find Secrets. Stories.  Dramas. If you pay attention, listen to the quiet whispers, ripples and gaps in the conversations, you find that its inhabitants lives are full of riddles and complexities.
There’s the young estate agent so utterly bewitched by a house she’s supposed to sell that she gets rid of potential buyers any way she can. A teenager that can wipe away a person’s memory just by touching their hand. The reclusive 80’s rock star hiding in her barn at a local farm, hoping no one recognises her from her past. The woman trying to escape from her philandering, murderous husband, the local investment banker.  A travelling circus full of arsonists, thieves, conmen and killers. Not a single person in the village is dull. Like you, like me, they all have a story to tell.
At times, if I’m distracted or too busy, I find it hard to go there. I can tell if it’s been too long between visits. I feel antsy, unfulfilled.
The odd thing is, when I do finally get there, it could be anytime, day or night. I might be physically pushing a trolley down the aisle at ASDA, watching a film with my husband, walking to school to collect the kids. But I’m not, really. I’m in my little village, visiting the rock star as she struggles with the opportunity to revive her career. A career that several years before ended in tragedy, bad press and dead bodies.
I’m walking through the gardens with the estate agent, smelling the roses, spying the koi in the pond, watching the play of sunlight and shadows in the pines.
Wherever I am physically, you can be sure of one thing.  Eighty per cent of the time, mentally I’m there. Wandering the streets, having a chat. Sharing a few tears. Cheering triumphs, large or small. Starting fights, stirring up trouble.
I’ve christened my little village Get Lost, I’m Writing. No one else goes there without an invite. And I really need to get back to it, coz the inhabitants are getting restless. They have things to say, places to go, scores to settle. And they can’t do it unless I get moving.
So, Get Lost, I’m Writing.

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