Stacks of books – hardbacks and paperbacks, old and new – with crumpled edges, yellowing pages; stained with mousy brown tea rings. A ticket-stub, photograph, framed-illustration, lyric-letter shrine to Mötley Crüe against the purple-painted wall. Clumps of shoes in a heap in the corner: leather boots, inky black dolly shoes with shrill spikes, gradient black to fading grey laced ankle boots for winter, and kicked Converse trainers. A tweed typewriter case thinly veiled with a layer of dust. Dangling pink and fluffy fairy lights. A Russian-doll-succession of skull ornaments on the cluttered condensation-beaded window sill; some heavy and cold with jewelled eyes, others light-weight and plastic with their own floral tattoos.
Grating, brain-piercing iPhone alarms. Shadow’s first angry meow, demanding breakfast. Sabre’s young, shrill bark and Lucky’s withering, crabbit growl; play-fighting outside as the sun splits the sky with the water-colour of freshly peeled oranges. Two ex-smoker’s-coughs. The buzz of an electric toothbrush. The springing of bread out of a toaster. The click of a boiled kettle. Junk mail rattling through the letter box. Hailstones clattering against windowpanes like thrown-stones.
But home isn’t just a house, the place where you sleep. It isn't just your bedroom, your family and your pets; your skull collection and shoe heap and book mountain. Home is the glistening, sugar-gauzed scent of the crisp air the day after the Scottish rain. It is buskers and bagpipers in Buchanan Street. Gift shops in Arran. Fish and chips in Largs. Irn Bru and rolls n’ square sausage. Dour faces and dry humour. Pessimism and pride. Ferocity and friendliness. Wit and Ignorance. Home is Trainspotting, Braveheart and Rob Roy. Paolo Nutini, Amy Macdonald and Twin Atlantic. Home is singing/shouting Loch Lomond at the end of an 18th birthday party.
Home is listening to Caledonia (cal-ee-doh-nia: a romantic/poetic name for Scotland) on your train home from a two-day-long wracked-with-homesickness trip in London. Caledonia’s been calling me. Now I’m going home. There may be cutting rain, wind, hail, snow, thunderstorms and, in the summer, midge swarms. But there's no place like home.
Sophie McNaughton is a 3rd year undergraduate student at the University of Strathclyde, working her way towards a degree in literature, journalism and creative writing. She's a fiction writer, journalist, editor (in fact, she's one of our assistant editors this year) and blogger. She has had works of fiction published by Short Story Sunday and Devolution Z Magazine. She says, 'I like trashy 80s glam metal, gothic horror, typewriters, experimental fiction, concrete poetry, and Trainspotting (the book and film, not the hobby).' You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Jane Walker is doing an MRes in Creative Practices at The Glasgow School of Art. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada, she is a practice-based artist researcher currently focusing on dichotomies between contemporary art and rural art practices in coastal communities within Scotland and Newfoundland. This picture is from her Speaker/Listener photo series.