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The Villa Vatta Schmaltz, October 2019, the tenth year of exile
" … where it's best to just let that mystery be."

George asked, "What does FeelingLikeHome feel like?" I thought he'd either asked a brilliant or a snarky question. Doesn't everyone know what FeelingLikeHome feels like? Others on that Friday PureSchmaltz Zoom Chat amplified the question's brilliance. They didn't know either. Curious responses followed, ones, as someone—I think it was Steven or Cynthia—noted that FeelingLikeHome might belong to the same class of feelings as does falling in love, which I interpreted as meaning universally indescribable. I had always assumed that pretty much everyone naturally held a deep nostalgia for some physical place, a definite home base around which their life revolved, either there or away, a binary place in a world of stunning diversity, but I was about to learn better, "better" being disconcerting in this specific case. George opined that he held no particular sentiment about where he'd grown up. Steven said that he felt attached to the people in his home, not the physical place at all. Our dialogue turned curiouser and curiouser.

I tried, enlisting my situationally velvet tongue, thinking that I, if anyone, might provide a crisp description of the FeelingLikeHome feeling.
I thought I noticed someone stifling a yawn and I watched myself expounding near gibberish, not even satisfying myself. Others valiantly attempted, too, but succeeded no more than I had. A dawning recognition bloomed that I had perhaps been holding a huge dormative in my chest, very near my heart, while HeadingHomeward through this finally waning exile. I knew the FeelingLikeHome feeling at least as well as I knew myself, and realizing that I held no words to describe or induce that feeling left me reeling in recognition at just how vacuous the term might have always been. Perhaps the FeelingLikeHome feeling wasn't really a feeling at all, or maybe the FeelingLikeHome feeling was just so overwhelming that no words could possibly convey its magnificence, either way, attempting to accurately convey it seemed doomed. I came to question myself and my own heartfelt convictions.

The very term FeelingLikeHome seems awfully unusual. I never even think of saying FeelingLikeHungry or FeelingLikeIll. I just blurt out that I'm feeling hungry or feeling ill, invoking no cloaking 'Like' at all. If I'm feeling especially terrible, I might describe my state as Feeling Like Hell, but I can't think of a single other instance when I ever insert "Like" inbetween a feeling and it's object. What might its purpose serve there? I do not Feeling Like Love, I say that I'm Feeling IN Love, which also tends to turn into another inexplicable state capable of inspiring ten thousand Schmaltz-y show tunes, each of which fail to fully describe or induce the state. The best might elicit a half-decent swoon, but none hit the moon they shoot for, not even in June.

My HeadingHomeward journey has been fueled by an uncertain sort of certainty, the kind I'm fine with just as long as I'm not called to describe it. As the preceding journal entries might attest, I've been talking all around the experience in lieu of providing any 'just the facts' descriptions, for the best I've got, the best I've been able to muster, speaks around the experience and not directly to it. HeadingHomeward, like FeelingLikeHome, holds no discrete description so I can only speak around it and hope that the indescribable negative space might somehow impart understanding, another dog notable for never barking. My bark's not much, either. I seem to have been singing a largely silent tune, melody vaguely hinting, lyrics not really describing anything.

My life seems most compelling whenever I'm pursuing some indescribable. Like the proverbial joker riding the bicycle, I can only keep riding as long as I'm not called upon to describe what I'm doing. These pursuits simply must be engaged in whole-heartedly, preconsciously, without a coherent story supporting them. Glow-y vacuity stands in for the statement of objectives and any attempt to assign discrete metrics kills the conveying mechanism. "I'm heading West," my forebears insisted, further details both unnecessary and unwanted, for they pursued a dream and dreams never benefit from more detail than any inductive allegory ever requires. Love songs say almost nothing yet still impart feelings like. Home, too, for those of us not born vagabonds, imparts similar indescribables. I know I'm home when I'm FeelingLikeHome and I'm coming to understand that my words cannot describe that feeling. You might see evidence on my face and wonder what in the heck I've been taking. Home's a better drug than can ever be prescribed. It's where gravity just seems to work right. FeelingLikeHome might belong in that class of feelings where it's best to just let that mystery be. It can stand little scrutiny. Just nod if you agree with me.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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