I’m not sure when it happened, but I have discovered several things both about myself and about my dual life. Thursday marked the last time I would be at my writers’ group here in DC. I was a little late to the meeting as my sister wanted me to come out to dinner and I haven’t seen very much of her, so family first. I remember walking into the meeting, and feeling like I was disrupting them. But the paramount feeling for me was not feeling as though I belonged. This is no longer felt like MY group. It wasn’t anything that anyone has done or said. Everyone was kind and welcoming, it was more that I felt out of place.
I think I’ve been feeling that for a while but have noticed it very sharply since being back here. It isn’t just the writers’ group that doesn’t feel like home. DC doesn’t feel like home. I feel like a tourist in the city that I spent 36 years of my life. And I don’t really feel like I belong in Amsterdam. Again, it’s not anything that anyone is doing. Everyone is kind and curious and wanting to find out about me there as well. But it does not yet feel like home.
I think I’ve been experiencing a general sense of being in the world, but out of it. And I think that is affecting my writing. Maybe the fact that I can’t connect to the place where I live or with a place that I called home for so long is in part, why I cannot connect to my own writing. Most of the time, in Amsterdam, I can barely get words on the page. I’m not sure if it’s because I get distracted by the people around me writing or if I’m distracted by the people in the bookstore who are browsing. I consider it a good day of writing if I can get a page done. And I think that was part of my problem during Nanowrimo back in November. I think it’s a contradiction for me because while I am galvanized to write by the people tapping away around me on their own computers, I am not able to sustain the word counts that they have. One of my members can easily write 1500 to 2500 words in half an hour. I am not sure how he does it. But maybe it goes deeper than just a simple distraction. Maybe this constant feeling of “I don’t belong” pervades everything.
It actually scares me quite a bit, this feeling of not belonging. Because if I don’t belong in Washington where I grew up and I don’t belong in Amsterdam where the love of my life is, and I don’t belong in the Washington Writers Group nor in the Amsterdam Creative Writers’ Club, then where is my place? I have read that home is the place that we stop trying to escape from. I’m not sure if I feel like I want to escape, but comfort in my surroundings is not something that I have felt, perhaps since leaving Edinburgh.
In spite of these feelings, I do choose to find something to be happy about. While it has been a very tiring trip, it has been nice to catch up with people who I haven’t seen in the last year. I am also kind of looking forward to being back in Amsterdam, even though sometimes I don’t feel like I belong there. Let’s face it, most of the time I don’t feel like I belong there. Nevertheless, it will be good to get back into my routine, especially one that doesn’t make me tired and cause me to fall asleep at 7 o’clock in the evening.
Speaking of which, it is my bedtime as it is 7:30 Eastern standard time and I haven’t been sleeping well. Until today that was due to the fact that I’ve been waking up at 5:30 every morning. But this evening my sleeplessness is due to the fact that I travel back to Amsterdam tomorrow. I will of course be waking up at 5:30 in the morning to do some teaching before I fly out. I will see you on the flipside, And my next post will be coming to you from Amsterdam. That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.