Recently I was interviewed by counter-cultural writer and gadfly Bill Ectric at his blog. It went a little like this:
Bill: Are you originally from Connecticut?
Eric Lehman: I moved to Connecticut fifteen years ago, and to Hamden, Connecticut thirteen years ago. Just this year it became the place I’ve lived longest. I think, like many Americans, I felt like a nomad, constantly on the move from town to town, state to state. That gives a wonderful sense of freedom, but it also means we care less about each place we live in, and each place we visit.
I first began travel writing as a memoirist, trying to get a hold of my past, which mostly involved cataloging each place I had traveled to, and what each meant to me. I quickly became a more professional travel writer, though I still focused on the personal experience of travel. When I moved to Connecticut, it became the place I traveled in the most, (obviously). I treated it as such, writing about it, learning its history and customs, and delving into it as a place in a way I had never done with any other place. Now, as a travel and history writer, I am even more concerned with the dialectic between freedom and home. I have come to believe a sense of home is necessary, and when we do move around the like the modern gypsies we are, we should learn everything we can about the new place we encounter. Doing that helped me move away from purely personal experience, and become invested in the human race.
Bill: Thomas Wolfe said, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Hemingway said, “Paris is a moveable feast.” Do you think one’s home can be moveable?
Eric: Well, I think Wolfe’s definition of “home” is wrapped up entirely in the past. He’s right – you can’t go home again, if home is a fixed and immutable idea that you have in your mind. Maybe Hemingway means “a moveable feast” is an idea that you carry around with you, but I prefer to think of his quote as meaning that Paris (or whatever other place means something dear to you) changes you, and informs your life in a way not often realized, something we feast on for the rest of our lives, bite by bite. No matter where we are, we can enjoy that feast. In this way, Hemingway’s quote also looks to the past, but does not want to “go” there. Rather, the past becomes the bread that sustains our future.
Read the rest of the article and other interviews here.