>My guitarist and I are planning our next concert, the theme of which is going to be journeys, exile, wanderlust, homesickness, the lure of the open road. This, combined with my recent trip back, and a few things I have read about “home” recently, has got my thoughts percolating and I will try to make some sense of them.
I have always said that I feel at home (zu Hause) wherever I am, which is a good thing in this business. With only one or two exceptions, this has been true. And yet, I have recently come to realize that the concept of “home” (as in Heimat) is something that my quasi-nomadic artist’s life no longer allows me to enjoy.
There are a lot of factors involved. For instance, I cannot just buy a house here and decide to stay, unless I would be prepared to give up my U.S. citizenship (and probably my singing career, should the theater decide it no longer wants to employ me.) So the prospect of moving elsewhere is always in the back of my mind, but I’m not talking about the nuts and bolts of living somewhere permanently, I mean the emotional aspect of feeling that one belongs to the place. This is the downside of being an expatriate, in that one will always feel like —and be treated as — an outsider where one lives (in so many, many little ways), and yet one may feel just as foreign when one goes “home” — not unwelcome, not a guest, but somehow no longer completely belonging there. You’ve seen too much, you’ve assimilated too much of another culture, to settle down to how it used to be before you moved away.
This isn’t such a terrible thing, I know. Many people are forced from their homelands and then yearn for them for the rest of their lives. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about. And then, on the way to work this morning, I realized that I was wrong, and that there is in fact one place that I do call “home”, which is more a state of mind than one actual place — the stage of any theater, in any country, in any city. It’s the black-painted walls, and the fly ropes (Prospektzüge), and the backside of the curtain, much much more than it is the lights or the audience.
When I am there, I am home.