This is a photo of my house taken by my friend Ben who visited our farm for the first time on the weekend. He said while he was sitting on our lawn drinking a glass of wine: “You guys own all this. The grass, the garden, it’s all yours. You won’t ever have a landlord come over and inspect your house again.” It’s a weird feeling to come to terms with, owning a home, and I don’t think it has become any less weird in the past nine months. This is the first time I’ve ever lived in a house that’s been owned by me or any member of my family. I was always hesitant about the idea of “home ownership” and have never really able to articulate my unease around questions of place and belonging.
I spent time with a group of Chaplains yesterday as part of my work with schools. One Chaplain spoke of her interest in the sacred within Australian literature and this encouraged me to do some thinking today about notions of a spiritual home within the Australian context.
A few years ago I did part of a Graduate Certificate in English at Melbourne Uni and took a subject with Jennifer Rutherford called: “The Uncanny in Australian Literature”. She completely broke my brain- in a good way- and it has changed the way I relate to Australian film and literature. The course explored the haunting of the Australian landscape found in much colonial fiction and poetry and questioned this country’s sense of the sacred, of home, of place, of identity….
I came across this essay today by Lyn McCredden from Deakin University entitled 'It's a hungry home': postcolonial displacements, popular music and the sacred. It is continuing to provoke my understanding of home and strangerhood being in constant negotiation with each other. I wanted to share some of the essay here:
Levinas, Emmanuel. Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism. Trans. Seán Hand. Johns Hopkins Jewish Studies. Eds. Sander Gilman and Steven T. Katz. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1990.
Rutherford, Jennifer. The Gauche Intruder: Freud, Lacan and the White Australian Fantasy, Melbourne: MUP, 2000.