As a writer, I feel it’s very important to strive to better my writing and I’m always trying to figure out ways to do that. I hit on the brilliant idea of asking someone else to give me a subject to blog about and this is what I was given.
“Your opinions on your life where you life; the physical conditions and how you feel about them. How do they affect you?”
Okay, let me illustrate the environment in which I live. I live on the outskirts of a large town, which itself is a suburb of a huge city on the south coast of England. My home is a rented two bedroomed flat on the first floor in a small cul-de-sac. My front windows look out across a wide green verge with trees, to a busy main road. A housing estate is situated on the other side of this road, with a forest beyond. Although I live on the first floor, the first floor is the top floor, so I have just one downstairs neighbour and one at the side; my flat is on the end of the block so no neighbour one side.
My flat is actually not bad as far as rented accommodation goes; I’ve lived in far worse places. I rent from the local housing association and although the rent is high, I get housing benefit which pays it all. I have my own little patch of garden at the front to keep as I please, whereas the rear is all communal grass and washing lines. Being on the top floor means I get the loft space, which is useful for storing some of my lesser needed crap that I can’t yet bear to part with, but as I’m the opposite of a hoarder, I doubt it will ever get filled. My front door is painted black and I have a gooseberry bush growing in the garden which gave me its first ever crop this summer. I enjoyed gooseberry crumble a few weeks ago and can’t wait for next summer to have it again.
It’s all very nice here. It’s relatively crime free apart from occasional smashed wing mirrors and sometimes the wheelie bins take a stroll down the road overnight. It could be so much worse and I count my blessings every day. The trouble is it’s boring and bland and oh so middle class. The same elderly ladies walk the same little dogs along the path every day and the same health conscious joggers jog along the main road. The ice cream van turns up at six thirty every summer evening and the bins are emptied every Monday. Life in surburia is boring and although it’s safe here, I do find myself wondering about maybe getting an exchange and moving somewhere else.
The people here are friendly, kind of. Not the always in your place for coffee type of friendly but the smile and hello when you pass in the street kind. I’m glad about this actually; I hate it when neighbours spend more time around your home than at their own so that you can never get anything done and they always want to know your business. I like a little detachment from neighbours but not to the point of being anti social or unfriendly. I do find myself wondering about them though; what they do in the privacy of their own homes and what their secrets might be. I guess everyone does this but being a writer and therefore creatively developed, my imaginings can be quite complex, serious, funny and strange.
Within two miles we have a good shopping centre, a railway station, a bus station and an airport, which means from here you can get to anywhere in the world. It’s a useful place to live despite its blandness. There’s even countryside within a few miles if you want to escape any time. Despite all of the benefits of living here, it’s not the first place I’d choose if I could. I have all sorts of daydreams about where and how I’d like to live if I won the lottery and they range from deep in the countryside with no neighbours for five miles in every direction, to a one thousand year old haunted manor house, to a swanky pad on the outskirts of Los Angeles or an upmarket area of Florida, depending on my mood.
I’m one of those people who forms an emotional attachment to the building in which I live. It’s a part of me, an expression of me and a representation of what I’m all about. I’m autistic and a bit agoraphobic and I live alone so I spend all my time that I’m not at work, here at home alone so it’s important to me that I feel safe and relaxed here. It’s my safe place, my panic room and my rubber cell all rolled into one and as I change, it changes. I can’t change it as much or as often as I’d like; I’m destitute (hey I’m a writer) so I can’t bring all my imaginings into being, but I do okay. If all else fails, I move the furniture around to make the place feel different.
My home has become a sort of living being. It has my energy within its walls. It’s experienced my joys and despairs alongside me and when I’m away from it, I look forward to returning to it. At the same time though, it’s lonely here and I’m very aware of how alone I am and I often imagine how it would feel to have a ‘significant other’ around the place. These four walls have been with me through some of the toughest times of my life. I’ve had many christmases and birthdays here alone with my walls; they know me better than anyone else and if walls could talk, I’d be worried.
Perhaps I’m setting the seeds for my own future haunting of the place by putting so much of myself emotionally and mentally into this flat. Perhaps this connection will bring me back for hundreds of years on the anniversary of my death, to walk the hallway in the dead of night and maybe, in a hundred years from now, the resident will often hear the faint tap, tap, tap as if some invisible writer were sat at a keyboard..!
Having said all that though, if I won the lottery I’d move without hesitation.