walkingtalkingwriting emerged from the wilderness; a wilderness of hurt and ‘well, what do we do now?’ and ‘where do we go from here?’ A place (or position) that was well captured by some of the bleaker parts of Dartmoor and at the same time belonged in the great cities of the world–cities being spaces that not only have their own wildness but also have cafés where we can sit and write (not many of those on Dartmoor).
So Paris–Vienna–Belgrade–Istanbul by train was a perfect vehicle to test out walkingtalkingwriting. The schedule only allowed a couple of hours in Paris and Vienna, but in Belgrade we had two nights and one full day, and in Istanbul we managed three days.
Travelling by train proved both an inspirational idea and a brilliant modus operandi: not only did we have the sense of timelessness of many hours trundling across the Hungarian plain and through Serbian mountains (constantly stunned by beauty), but it was a timelessness that reached back into our shared European history of the last couple of hundred years. A journey through the current versions of nation states, and through the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, the cataclysmic wars of the 20th century and consequent division of Europe into East and West, Communist and Capitalist.
And there to remind us of another sort of timelessness was the peasant economy, the small fields, the non-mechanised agriculture, the horse and cart, and maybe a small tractor here and there. Seeing it with a sense of gratitude because how much longer does that way of life have, as more and more of us are led into the cities.