Acting Like Adults

The Adventures of Leigh Hooks in Children's Theatre

Archive for the category “Lithuania”

It Felt Like Home. Lost and in the Wind.

Sleepy Travelers

My friend and fellow nomad Sarah asked me what my thoughts on home were. Sarah has been doing Project Nomad since September of 2011 which is dedicated to finding “home away from home” by discovering what is means to be at “Home” when you have a lifestyle that constantly keeps you traveling. Sarah works as a flight attendant which keeps her in the air and all over the globe and myself as a touring artist only stay in one spot for a week at a time. Here are my thoughts on “Home”:

I was voiding my bowels from dinner, an egg sandwich, when I noticed a spider in the bathtub. In the Upper-Midwest and particularly in South Dakota during the early spring, all the creepy crawly things come alive and search for a new home. Millipedes, spiders, beetles, potato bugs, Silver Fish, Box Elders and the cunning Earwig wander about the dark warm places looking for a place to nest. There are few better places to brood then a bathroom it’s: warm, dark, moist and full of giant naked beings that cover their naughty bits while running and gasping like babies when an “icky” bug is spotted. I stood or rather sat my ground upon seeing the small prone arachnid. I was more curious what made the tub seem like a good place to live. Nothing seemed, to me, all that interesting among my lost short hairs and the standardized beige plastic fixture. I also wondered if the spider knew the immediate danger of drowning. One quick motion of the faucet and the spider would be washed into the unknown of the drain and in small town South Dakota, who knows what the hell is actually down there. The added thought of the spider dramatically being swept away after heroically searching for food, with a needy spider family back at the nest teaming with hundreds of spider-lettes, was more then I was willing to think about while pooping.

The idea of “Home” has always been elusive to me. In a way, I’ve always been a traveler, a nomad foraging about the country in various caravans looking for shelter and food. I mostly grew up in Central Minnesota after brief stays in Idaho, Oregon and California. Even in Minnesota only constant place was my High School. Otherwise, the places called “Home” were Cokato, Litchfield, Winstead and Hutchinson. The buildings and streets where we lived were very temporary. They served the purpose of sheltering a menagerie of life bitten gypsies. These drafty farm houses and run down apartments were never filled and warm like those of my friends. The places they called “Home” had been lived in since they were born always residing on the same streets and familiar things. My life was neither constant or familiar. Either by place or circumstance things were always changing for better or for worse. I remember being jealous and envious of the people I knew who had a constant life, a dedicated schedule a seemingly normal rhythm in their world. I felt that they must have easy lives not being on the run all the time, they have space to breath and relax I thought. In those days I did not find comfort or solace in the world or people around me. I became a  ghost and a stranger to myself and others. I spent most of my time playing video games, reading Star Wars book, shooting targets and aimlessly driving around. Although it seemed I was the average kid growing into my own and not so equally dividing my time between school and home activities, there was a distinct lack of that “Home” I was longing for.

As I grew older and mistakes were made, hearts were broken, life and my interests changed, “Home” became an ideal. This theoretical cloud floating over me while the application remained implausible. Unlike my friends, I was never homesick, I never needed to return to a place to be at peace, there was nothing to anchor me. I was free to roam as I pleased not having to worry about straying too far from loved ones. My “Home” was my dorm room, my car, my suitcase, my ability to pick up and go without guilt or remorse I was in control of where to put foundations. I quickly found out these places and things I called “Home” were only will filled with solidarity. I was by myself, separated from reality as a spectator and reduced to not living but watching as others did.

I grew older yet. Mistakes were made, hearts were broken, my interests changed and life continued. Even now living as a traveling artist I have no place to call “Home” besides the address I keep to get my mail. This idea, this thing, this ambiguous prospect still remains distant if it is defined by what I’ve been thinking it is. My life is different from those I grew up with. “Home” is not a building with a fence and a dog, it is not being surrounded by the same familiar things. “Home” is being welcome. It is your friends letting you stay in their spare room when your not touring, it is the guy you just met at the bar in Newell, SD that buys you a beer. Home is a place of acceptance and generosity and it can be where ever you choose it to be. Home is never far away.

With Love, All the Best, Travel Safe,

Leigh

P.s. Leigh and Lithuania is still going! Don’t miss your chance to donate!

P.P.S. Songs about home: Edward Sharp and Hem

Leigh and Lithuania: Romance of the American

Gediminas Avenue toward the Cathedral Square

When I was in college, I had the chance to attend an international writing seminar in Lithuania. I remember the morning before I left being filled with the fear of uncertainty. As the five members of this rag tag crew set out from Sioux Falls on a brisk July morning, our moods change from quite contemplation to excitement to exhaustion to excitement to hunger to exhaustion and back to quiet contemplation. Our journey had taken perhaps 20 hours and four airports so by the time we touched down in Vilnius, the Capitol, we were pretty well spent.

This excursion was my first outside of America and I was eager to see more parts of the world beyond the reaches of the Upper-Mid West and California. The experience proved to be life altering, leaving me wanting to know this place like a friend or a lover. I spent most of my time in Old Town. The above picture is from one of the tourist drags that filter into Cathedral Square which  stands in front of the medieval Gediminas Fortress (this is where the Singing Revolution happened in 1991 and spurred the fall of the Soviet Regime). Now, in Cathedral Square, there is a tile known as the “Wishing Tile” or “Miracle Tile”. It’s said that if you find this tile, spin three times clock-wise and make a wish it will come true.  At the time I was in a complicated relationship and this was my wish: “I want to fall in love again.”

The universe took in my request and scratched it’s head:

“Who is this human boy who wants love? What does he love? Is it a person or a food of some sort? What can this mean?” said The Universe in the face of the vague request.

As it turns out, the universe sent no person or animal or food. It sent me a city pitted with a dreary history of violence and resistance stewed with unparallelled architecture and the beauty of anonymity. I walked the streets at night by myself unable to speak the language, having no idea where I was going or what might be around the next corner but falling in love with this place just the same. My experience there is largely unexplainable. It’s strange and distant in my mind but also close and personal. There are many times, even to this day, I can close my eyes and I’ll be sipping coffee at a side street kavine listening to the sounds of the bazaar in the static of tens of different languages.

Now, four years later, I have a chance to go back. I submitted to the same seminar program Summer Literary Seminars’ (SLS) Annual Literary Contest and won a fellowship (I submitted “Out of Africa” which can be seen as a rough draft as the first post on Acting Like Adults) .  I have dreamed about going back ever since I left and now I might actually get to and interact with writers from around the world. But, I need help: The fellowship only covers a part of the tuition and I still need to acquire a plane ticket and money to cover other travel expenses (Lodging, food, insurance, etc.). The following link is to a fundraiser I have set up for this adventure. Anything helps! And in addition I’ll be writing cover letters to friends, family and businesses.

Leigh and Lithuania Fund

While I’m there I plan to do a video blog of my happenings and send post cards. And who doesn’t like post cards?

Here’s to a dream. Cheers. Skol.

With Love, All the Best, Travel Safe,

Leigh

P.S here is the link to “Out of Africa” I refined it quite a bit but this is the original.

Out of Africa (Rough)

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