And in that moment, everything I knew to be true about myself up until then was gone. I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before.
Francesca, The Bridges of Madison County
My father once referred to me as a Flying Dutchman. And it's true, I've never really settled – neither in the real world nor the ones I make up in daydreams. But who's to say that's a bad thing? It keeps me going.
I might be a vagabond, but I never travel lightly. I need my things around me, most importantly, my books. As a child going on family vacations, I'd start debates about how many books I could take. And later, when the vagabonding days began, boxes of books took up most of the space in moving vans.
I grew up on books. All kinds of books. I loved the books of my parents and even grandparents that I found in old cases in the attic. I loved the new books I would get for Christmas or birthdays. And I loved the much-thumbed books I swapped with friends.
If I were less chaotic, I'd be running my own restaurant. I love experimenting in the kitchen just as much as I love experimenting on paper. To smell a new dish and see it change its color, texture or size while bubbling on the stove or sizzling in the oven thrills me as much as seeing characters change and grow while their stories unfold. And I like being a host and trying to make everyone feel welcome.
Looking for inspiration or an adventure or that one place where I'd feel at home caused me to move around quite a bit. I've lived in England, Israel and in many places between. Living like that meant meeting people, making friends – and ultimately, saying goodbye. Of course, no age has been easier than ours for staying in touch, even if your loved ones live in other time zones, seasons and continents. But communication technology is no replacement for friends who live close enough to come over for dinner or a cup of coffee. We chat the nights away on phone or Skype, but it is never enough.
You will find that sense of longing in my writing. I often feel like Hugh Grant's character at the beginning of Love Actually when he says: "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport." Some friends, I don't see for months or even years; I can't travel as much as I would like. But in my mind, I can. And my characters can too. They can arrive wherever they want and be reunited with whomever they yearn for.
So what's on the next page? Last summer, I moved into an old house at a lake, with enough space for friends to visit and stay a while – and for my books to settle.
P.S.: They say the Flying Dutchman can be redeemed by love. Only time will tell.