I’m finally admitting, after years of dithering about it here and elsewhere, that I’m bi-local. That is, I have two places I call home.

Two places where I keep my stuff (well-worn favorite walking shoes, decent corkscrew, poufy pillow, jar of good pens, sharp tweezers, bag of unexpired granola).

Two places where I have history. After 13 years of back and forth, about both places, now, I can say to my husband, “Remember that time we…” and “Why don’t we go back to…?” and he knows exactly what I’m talking about.

In both places, I’ve been known to advise outsiders (not too smugly, I hope) about what to do and see, how to get there, what to avoid. About both places, I can now offer “in” jokes and chummy complaints.

This marriage to my California guy seems to be hanging on, and it looks like our dual domicile life is going to last. And now that I’m retired, I am extending my absences from Flint, Michigan to about five months a year.

To be “of” two places can be perilous and confusing. Especially when one is a fairly glamorous place – the portside of Los Angeles, where a lot of people want to live -- and when the other place – beleaguered and stubbornly compelling Flint -- still wrestles with its nagging, if unfair, notoriety.

But that is part of the material that absorbs me and is reflected in this website, which I’m resuscitating after long neglect. As my life changes and enters a new phase, I’m attempting to capture once again my various obsessions and re-inventions.

I feel rich with experience and choice. I hope you will find pleasure here.

To read the whole essay about being “bi-local,” which appeared in the September, 2014 East Village Magazine, click here or go to Essays on the link above.

    -- From My bilocal life, both perilous and pleasurable in Essays

More from Essays

Stay at Home Dads:  Saints, Freaks or Both?  
"The four dads say Flint, in contrast to its reputation, is a good place for unconventional family arrangements. With their wives, each worked out a complex calculus around Flint’s low cost of living, who had the better benefits and the high price of quality child care. Separately and across a period of several years, like a growing number of families across the country, they came to the same conclusion — it’s better if Dad stays home."

Chicken Lady Keeps on Truckin'
“I never intended to be a pioneer,” Flint's "Chicken Lady" RoanneAdair says, “I just wanted to eat good food.”

USC Registrar Has Gandy Dancer Bones
"The child of a man who worked at Chevy-in-the-Hole’s Plant Four his whole adult life and the grandson of a longtime Grand Trunk Railroad worker, Doug Shook, 60, says he was not just “blue collar.”  He says he was “no collar” — working demanding outdoor jobs by day, riding motorcycles and partying by night”


Ordinary Dirt

On my knees in ordinary dirt, last quarter of my life and mid-October, I clear a space in crinkly leaves for digging holes, a pile of tulips at my side. I scoop out mounds, where beetles shamble over lumpy clumps. It’s city dirt, cicada shell and titmouse scat and stuff of upright lives, cracked caulk, flaked paint, a shard of tea-stained mug. I could go down so deep I’d find an arrowhead, clay pipe, a wooden flute. But now I’m digging just enough for spring, my muscles, skin and nerves conjoined. The pungence draws me down, my body recognizing home.

Copyright Jan Worth-Nelson, Reprinted from Driftwood 100-word issue, "Earth," Winter 2009.




Night Blind: Top Ten Finalist in Literary Fiction, ForeWord Magazine "Book of the Year" Awards for 2006 books from independent and small presses.

Night Blind is the saga of a ragtag bunch of Peace Corps volunteers grappling with a murder in the remote and eccentric Kingdom of Tonga. For more, click here...