Lately, several story ideas that have popped into my mind share something in common. That something revolves around home and how we infuse ourselves into our dwellings. Likewise, our homes often shape us, not just in the memories we create and experience there, but the shapes of the houses themselves and the room they offer. I’m convinced that many houses have tangible personalities. I’m no Feng Shui enthusiast, but maybe there are some commonalities here. I have no idea. I just know what draws my interest and imagination. Apparently, this isn’t a new thing for me.
When I was a child, one of the houses across the street from ours stood vacant for some time. My sister, friend and I were always desperately trying to conjure up mystery wherever we went, and now here was food for the imagination on our own street. I wrote a story about the imagined mystery that haunted this modest 3/2. I think that story is lost for good, (ooooh, darn) but it did spark the beginning of a long interest in the spaces we inhabit for me.
The oldest part of my grandparents’ house in NC is over 100 years old. Sometimes I would wonder what the people were like who first lived in it. That, and I always thought about the Newsies-you know, “I want space/not just air/let ’em laugh in my face, I don’t care”-1899 was a significant year.
Our home was not mysterious or secretive, I thought. But it was always where I wanted to be in the evenings. For as long as I can remember, nothing filled me with a sense of contentment like watching the evening draw home life along with its changing patterns. I never wanted to be out at night much. Evenings were for cozy winding down.
Mike and I have spent two anniversaries in St. Augustine, FL. We spent our time as most do there, wandering the streets on foot, visiting the beach and exploring Castillo de San Marcos. To the left of this fort, we walked across the green lawn til we came to a private street, dimly shaded in contrast to the open spaces of the stone walls and surrounding area. The houses on that street are a wide variety of styles and colors. Each of them offers something remarkable, and we always like to talk about what they might be like inside and what kind of people live in them. My very favorite house stands directly across from the most (in my opinion) hideous house I have ever seen. Like, it even creeps me out a little. But the contrast is also part of the draw. So, finally, I’ve written a fictionalized description of the two of them, which I’ll be sharing tomorrow.
In the meantime, have you ever experienced a house with a distinct personality? Is it a regular occurrence for you, or more scattered? If you write, do you like to include some of these elements in your writing?