Sunday, 30 December 2007

A Suitcase

From Nobody’s Home
Essays by Dubravka Ugresic

A Suitcase
‘There are authors who have penned marvellous pages on exile. They unwittingly polish the subject, and in doing so give exile the glow of a romantic rebellion against the demands of everyday life, a rejection of home and homeland for the thrill of personal freedom. The people who have written these pages overlook the banalities; Walter Benjamin killed himself because he wasn't able to get his papers stamped; everything might have turned out differently had that anonymous clerk stamped Benjamin's passport. But in myths, including ones about exile, everyone is inclined to forget the anonymous bureaucrats. And this is how the bold face of clerkish triviality, shored up by both the author’s, and the reader's, romantic expectations, becomes the face of cruel Destiny.’

‘Literature tends to show the romantic side of exile. In reality, people live in exile submerged in trauma. The image of exile suggests a rebellious fragmentation, but also a servile obedience to the process of acquiring a new home. The only way those in exile are able to leave it behind is not to leave it behind at all, but to live it as a permanent state, to turn their waiting room into a cheery ideology of life, and to embrace the schizophrenia of exile as the norm of normalcy, revering only one god: the suitcase!’

‘The most intimate side of exile is tied to luggage. As I write these lines I am surrounded by a dozen kinds: bags, suitcases (with and without wheels), costly valises, cheap duffels, all purchased in various cities. I look at them fondly: they are my only true companions, witnesses to my wanderings. The suitcases travel, go across borders, move in and move out with me……..’

Saturday, 8 December 2007


'When gorse be out of bloom, love be out of season.' Cornish folk saying.

Gorse in bloom on Maryport Sea Brows 6th December 2007