On Writing,  Wander, Wonder, Write

It’s All About the Questions

“What kind of beast would turn its life into words?” 

—Adrienne Riche

My knuckles, wrists, and knees are bruised. I have cuts and magic marker stains all over my hands. I wake up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, certain that the mover will arrive in one hour and not find a parking spot. My yoga routine has been disrupted since we used my old mat to wrap-protect our flatscreen TV. Muscles I didn’t even know I had ache and burn. Dinner wine goes down like water. 

I lived at thirteen addresses before arriving in the atelier I vacated yesterday. Moving used to be a happy thrill: Moving always meant moving up. But it’s a different experience when you leave a home after eighteen years of habit and accumulation. This move required me to assess my life. 

What do I own? How attached am I to my possessions? Who have I become? 

I disliked the confrontation with my previous decisions and the secret hoarder inside. I regretted being a person who needed a multitude of things to feel secure. 

Closer to our departure, the process changed from retrospection to anticipation. As I cleaned out my closets and cut back on books, I felt myself getting lighter and opening up, shifting my gaze from the past to the future. 

What is essential? Who do I want to be? 

It’s been over a decade since I last kept a diary, several years since I last published regular posts on my blog. Writing flash fiction and nonfiction fulfilled my need for short, pseudo-immediate prose, something to keep me going while I slogged away at my longterm novel. But I miss the constant reflection, especially during this time of change. 

What does it mean to give up a home base, be a nomad, live from month to month, country to country? How will it affect my marriage, my identity, my work?

So here it is, my resolution to write—if not daily, then at least frequently—about my wonderings and wanderings, my exercise in dislocation. 

* Photo: View over Der Zürichsee, first view of our new life.


  • Jayne Martin

    In 2011 I moved from an 1800 sq ft 3 bedroom/2 bath home — where I lived alone — to a one-room cottage high on a rural hilltop. I unburdened myself of 40 years worth of “stuff” and I’ve never been happier. Look forward to reading more, Claire.

  • Steph Cash-Beckner

    Love this, Claire! Congratulations on indulging in the nudge! As a 40 something who left her home state recently to write and pursue an MFA I feel this in my bones. I look forward to being witness to this journey!

  • Lynn Frances

    I am always unburdening myself of “stuff,” and then bringing in more. As I watch my parents divest themselves of things, I see the joy in only having what you need and most love. Less stuff, more experiences!