Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Does it matter where you live? Celia Rees

I'm suffering from location envy, I don't mind admitting to it. Yesterday, Liz Kessler wrote fulsomely about the delights of living in Cornwall, in the beautiful town of St Ives, home to generations of artists and writers, and the inspiration she gains from that living in such a place and living by the sea. Her lovely blog was littered with wonderful photographs of the sea, beaches and harbours, finishing with one of Liz surfing. Go, Liz!

Now, I live in Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire. An attractive town, but about as far away from the sea as you can get. I was about to say, not particularly inspiring, but then I realised that I have used bits of the town, the cafes, shops, the streets, the parks, river, houses, etc. etc. in my books. My latest, This Is Not Forgiveness, is set in a town very like it, not exactly the same, of course, I would find that too restricting, but not dissimilar. It's an unexceptional town, where ordinary people live, so if you are writing a book about ordinary people, I guess it helps to live and write about somewhere that is easily recognisable, ubiquitous even. That's what I tell myself, anyway.

The other reason that I'm suffering from location envy is that I've just had an e mail from a friend who has upped sticks to go and live in Italy. Yesterday, while I was shivering in spitting rain and record lows for Easter, he was wandering round Assisi.

Going to see the Giottos, sitting outside cafes drinking expresso, lunching for €15 and he could do this any time he liked. And if not Assisi, then there are plenty of other wonderful hill towns full of fabulous art. Now, I'm thinking, if I lived there, in that climate, what could I not achieve? Or would spend so much time just looking, just being, that I wouldn't have time to do any writing? I don't know, but sometimes I think it would be fun to find out.


Liz Kessler said...

Do it. Pack up and spend a year in Cornwall!

Or at least come and visit for a weekend :)

adele said...

I would feel most odd living anywhere else, I must say. Holidays is one thing but the whole fabric of your life is where you live and if you up sticks and go somewhere entirely different and not easy to get to, I think you'd be...well. I think you'd miss HOME. Which involves networks of friends etc which are hard to built from scratch abroad, I reckon. Also the inestimable delights of UK compared to other places would come starkly into focus. Your inspiration has done very well so far!!

catdownunder said...

Where you live does matter - and, oddly, "home" is not necessarily where you live. I live in one place but "home" is an entirely different place - on the other side of the world. It was the only place I ever felt comfortable in - as if I was where I belonged. Yes, most of my friends live there. Unfortunately for me I do not have the right to live there. It always puzzles me that people want to migrate here. Oh yes, it is "nice". It is (relatively) "safe" and the standard of living is (too)high. If you like outdoor pursuits then the weather is amenable too. But, it is not right for me. I am deeply envious of those of you live in the UK - access to Europe and all those "inestimable delights" at home!

Stroppy Author said...

Oh it does matter where you live! I live in Cambridge, which is - apart from being pretty and full of useful libraries - crawling with interesting people and other writers working in coffee shop. But one day I'll live in Italy for at least part of the year. Celia, you must come and visit the mad Italian grannies in our palazzi.

Ms. Yingling said...

Oh, but Leamington Spa is so PRETTY! (Google Street View can make my day, even if it's essentially creepy.) I live in Ohio, which, while pleasant, is pedestrian. I think we all have places where we would like to live, and if it makes you feel better, I envy where you are a bit!