“Here is a page from the emptiest stage. A cage or the heaviest cross ever made.” (From the song “Home” written by Martin L. Gore of Basildon, England)
Home. A place we writers put our people. Where they then do and say things. And feel and observe. Mess up horribly and make up for those messes. Where will your people live?
If a story’s setting should feel just as alive as any character you bring to the page, it’s no wonder so many writers have chosen England to fill that role.
I’ve never been, but the country fascinates me, too. Especially the Songwriters. But that’s nothing surprising as I’m fascinated by gobs of both interesting and boring things. And I also have no problem expressing this fascination.
Hubby, on the other hand, is hard to leave an impression on, kind of like a rock. That’s why when he arrived home last weekend from a trip to Alconbury, England, and was nothing short of enamored with the place, I took note. I’d expected him to report back about the cool, skinny, pale Brits I’d badgered him to pay attention to and whether or not they really say things like “mate” and “rubbish”. Instead, these are a few of the emails I received that week:
“England has been interesting. Driving on the left has been cool. I took pics of the country side. That is all I have seen so far. It is pretty though. As soon as I landed, I thought, this is a place Carlene would love to see.” (Alconbury is located approximately 60 miles north of London.)
“On the drive…A weird thing I noticed. The Brits drive on the left side of the road, but the driver sits on the right, they use miles for their distance but liters for their gas.”
“England is very interesting. The driving and the pace. In Germany, (another stop on his trip) the folks on the street moved slowly while walking, but driving—they seem to speed everywhere. Here in England, not so much. It seems more leisurely.”
“The town we drove through was Alconbury. It was a neat looking town.” (Neat is not a word hubby says very often. For a place to rate a “neat” is pretty substantial.)
“England does have an interesting feel to it. Germany (the land, the architecture, the way of life) seemed old and they relished in that. Here in England, it is new mixed with old. There was a pic I sent you of a house whose roof was made of thrash or black straw.”
Have you ever been to England? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings about it.
Do you long to make the trip like me? If so, please feel free to share your expectations about what you envision of the place.
As I started us off with one of my favorite English written songs, I’ll end things with another.
“I’m pale, I’ve brought it back to Winter Tale. So spare the ghosts around my neck, the winds against the sails. I’m shivering up a storm of roadside pines. Thirst shreds the ballast cold and shows the olden times.” (From the song “A Winter Tale” written by Bobby Long of Wigan, England)