It seems to me that all writing is travel writing. All writing is an act of colonisation and of exoticising. There are no correct procedures. Writing is by its very nature an intrusion: voyeuristic; fetishistic; impolite; self-serving – the self is the finished piece of writing. Its effects may be much more noble, but not necessarily. We know that writers, like readers, perform their acts of transportation regardless of any physical distances they may travel: Emily Dickinson; Joseph Cornell (their open cages). If you laugh and tell me I am only speaking metaphorically, I will reply: what other way do you expect me to speak? Metaphor is Greek for ‘transfer’. A poet told me this. Writing is being a tourist on your own street; writing is spying on your neighbour; writing is having five addresses; four names; three passports; two faces; one small indivisible identity – that does, however, get split. Bedroom window. Hotel window. Either way, nostalgia is Greek for ‘return home’. And that is the bedrock of all writing. A stranger told me this.


Friend of My Youth