“There is no place like home” or so they say. They also say that “Home is where the heart is”. And, while many believe that “home is a man’s castle” for me the idea of home has been feeling more like a prison. I, as you may remember, was looking for a home and then decided to quit looking because every time I looked I broke out in metaphorical hives. Even as Igor, my savvy psychoanalyst, told me having a home of my own would be good for me and how much I needed my own space—the idea left me needing more therapy. But, I really tried to find a home; I did. I got a realtor and everything but I would have mild to severe anxiety attacks every time the realtor called. It seems that I have major commitment issues in regards to home and that is why we are still in our 750 square foot condo on a month to month rental basis that requires no lease or commitment. I want to know that any moment I could fly the coop and move—-even though I am not looking and broke up with my realtor using the much loved, “It’s not you; It’s me” line.
For all of us, whether if we were raised by wolves, perfect parents or neglectful narcissists, our first home was our mother. For nine months or so we had a womb with no view and I imagine that first home has an impact on our sense of house and home. As I was born 12 pounds and something ounces I spent the bulk of my time in Chez Mama kicking and screaming. There just wasn’t enough room for me as demonstrated by the formidable black and blue marks I left on my first home(One might compare my small and uncomfortable apartment that we are living in now, that I am desperate to get out and kicking and screaming about, to this first home). My childhood homes were places of formality, chaos, anxiety, alcoholism and a complete lack of personal space or boundaries. Ever since then each home I have left an impact on me and on who I am home—-and even my resistance to home.
During my house hunting days the author of Halfway to France who is in the midst of a move of her own, told me about about Louise DeSalvo’s fantastic book “On Moving”. This brilliant book made me aware of how loaded with meaning houses and moving are psychologically. A new house it is not just a new house it is promise of a new self. Each time I would walk into an open house, thanks to DeSalvo, I would quickly become aware of the me that I imagined I would be in each house.
In the Tudor house on Rose street I would be a modern day Jane Austen who needle-pointed by the fireplace, sipped Earl Grey tea and waited for Mr. Darcy-Weasel to come home. In the ultra modern house in the Glendale Hills I would be as laconic and terse in my prose and persona as someone in a Raymond Carver story. And, the ranch house in the middle of horse country I was sure I would live a Ralph Lauren like lifestyle that involved horses, vintage cowboy boots, turquoise belt buckles and prairie skirts In each house I did not find myself but some other self that I imagined I could be. In each house and identity I did not feel at home. No house, not even the 5000 square foot house we accidentally walked through, was large enough to hold the many aspects of my self—and would hence require me to rent a storage space to hold the parts of me that the house didn’t have room for.
As Igor and I seem to be getting no closer to getting me through my home issue and I still start to sweat each time I see He-weasel house hunting on Realtor.com, I thought I would turn to other writers who have managed to find or make a home for themselves to see how they managed it. I wanted to know their secrets so I asked them the following questions:
Where is home for you?
What is the difference between home and house for you?
Are you at home now?
Have you always felt at home?
What makes a place a home for you?
How has where you lived impacted you? Have the homes you lived in changed you in any way?
Do you think you can go home again?
How did you find your home?
What is your ideal home?
What do you wish you had noticed about your home before you moved in?
How many homes have you had?
What is the style of home that you feel most at home in( even if you have never had such a home)?
And, happily they answered my questions. Throughout the month of August these writers will be sharing their homes with us. We will be getting eight home tours of writers’ homes in places such as Provence, France; India; London; New York City; and places in between. They not only answered my questions but they also shared pictures, drawings and insights I never imagined. Please make them feel at home here on my blog and let them know how much you like the peak into their homes. When touring others homes I find that it is a good idea to wipe your shoes on the doormat, don’t eat their potpourri and not to put your feet on the coffee table—but as none of you were born in a barn or raised in a cave I am sure I don’t need to remind you of that. Oh, and no need to bring a house warming gift. Me casa es su casa or, actually, me bloga es su bloga.
Please come back tomorrow to see Vicki Archer’s home( which I would happily move into). Vicki is an Australian who lives between London and Provence and she is the author of the gorgeous book, dp/0670018775">“My French Life” which tells the story in pictures and prose of her seventeenth-century property in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. You can visit Vicki’s on-line home here.