So, I moved cities. The reasons I moved are hard to define exactly though one is solid. I sold my apartment. The reason for that is easy to explain: I’d lost trust in it. I bought more than 14 years before I sold it. I bought it, not because I loved it, or wanted to live in that area but because I needed some security. My relationship of 15 years had folded, I was not young, I knew I’d never be in another relationship in the same way. I had to look out for myself. So, I bought this apartment because it was available and I could afford it. And when, so many years later, it was invaded by bedbugs and I lived out of plastic bags for six months, when I’d cleared out a number of things that seemed important to me, I realized that I’d lost trust in it, it was time to go. By then it had been declared bedbug free by a bedbug sniffing dog and two separate inspections by pest control and by all good reason I should have settled back happily into it, I’d lost faith and developed a significant bug phobia. I sold it and moved to Europe for what I thought was forever. That’s not what happened. Brexit and a healthy skepticism happened. Also what happened was I underestimated my love/don’t love relationship with Canada. All that aside for another time, maybe. I moved back but could no longer live in Vancouver. All I’d enjoyed there was gone. Too much misery evident every day, too expensive, me getting older, and the perpetual association of the place with bedbugs, which was exacerbated by the tales of the people I knew who had to deal with them, so, on November 15, 2018 I washed up in Victoria.
One of the things I realized quite early on in a vagabond life, is that those creative people I knew had a certain stability about them. Yeah, the drank too much, doped up too much, gained and lost too many jobs, but the one thing they did was stay put in one place. That was my Vancouver. There I wrote and published, I had a community of writers and creative folk I valued, I got to explore myself in relation to others and them in relation to themselves. All lovely stuff and I thrived. But those bloody bed bugs.
Here in Victoria I am happy. I got so incredibly lucky in that I found a lovely apartment in a great location within days of arriving. While I was cooling my heels and regaining some kind of perspective on a world full of bugs of various kinds in Europe, a couple of friends had moved to Victoria. One, a close friend who had lived two blocks away when I lived in Vancouver, offered to put me up until I found a place. I am so grateful.
Settling in has not been all suns and roses. I sorely miss the creative community I had in Vancouver and I find myself quite a different person here. Disinclined to go out and meet people, happy to walk by myself on the seafront every day and live a life that is pretty solitary. I also had some shocking and abrupt ruptures with folk I knew who lived here, and a past that intruded in a disturbing way. Yet, here I am, walking on along the seafront, enjoying a beautiful day and watching otters and harbour seals hunt in the ocean thinking “I love my city” and realising that I have thought ‘my city. I have not written much creative stuff since I arrived. Some short flash pieces and attempts to complete longer works that have failed miserably. Lately I’ve understood that for me this is the price of upheaval. No, not all the emotional stuff of shattered and miscued friendships or resurgence of past relationships not in a good way, but of actual physical uprooting. My roots are gone and so I am like a leaf on a river, drifting along. I am enjoying the ride, but there is no time for a social or philosophical fascination on which to base writing. There is only absorption, accretion of detail, that may come to fruit at some later time. There is the waning horror of bugs of any kind. There is a putting together of a different self. And there is the loneliness left by the lack of my constant companion since I was a young teen: writing.