Tales of a 21st Century Gypsy

February 7, 2004 Cape Town

In Persuasion, Anne Elliot arrives at her younger sisterís house after packing her own familyís home for their move to Bath, and she is reminded that only a short distance away thoughts are in another world. She is plunged at once into her sisterís petty concerns about her husband, the neighbors, the visitors, and whether she is being treated with all the consequence she deserves, while Anneís head is filled with her own home, the disgrace of having to move out, her recognition that her eldest sister prefers the unacceptable Mrs. Clayís companionship to her own, and her thoughts about the sister of her former fiancť becoming tenant in the family home.

Arriving here was somehow similar. Iíve just moved into other peoplesí turf, and a turf that is seething with quiet discontent and confusion - people who don't know what they can expect from each other, two people each of whom wishes the other would move on and leave the third person to her. I've heard only one side of the situation, of course, but enough to make me feel judgmental, and to make this a quite strange place to arrive as yet another outside visitor.

And in three days when Iíll leave here, Iíll shift into yet another world, one that is more my own, back to northern Virginia, trying to face the edits to the book that I wrote a year and a half ago, and have hardly thought of since.

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