One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.







Friday, July 10, 2015

The Landscape of Home Away From Home


I’ve been home for a while (a month!) after a flurry of travel, (New York, Mexico City, San Miguel Allende, Santa Fe, Atlanta, Hawaii) and now I'm getting ready to head East again in a few weeks. It's hard to stay put for very long these days when there are so many places I want to go, (and go back to), so much I want to see.

For me, travel seems to open my heart and mind to other lives while expanding my sense of potential and possibility. I always love imagining myself, another version of myself, living in the places I visit. The contrast from a place like Santa Fe to say, New York City stretches across the spectrum from my life in San Francisco, allowing me to construct very different imaginary lives over the span of a few months.


Something I always do when I’m away from home, is to find ‘my house’—the house where I would, in my imaginary life, reside. I have virtual parallel lives and houses on several continents; a house in Buenos Aires, a house in Santa Fe, a house in Paris. My 'house' in Montpelier, Vermont is a charmingly tiny brick coach house, not much bigger than a child’s playhouse, where I could imagine myself as a quirky, arty spinster inviting my favorite writers to tea and making dolls to hand out as muses.

I discovered my favorite house (where the imagined famous writer version of myself lives and writes sweeping best seller sagas whispered to me by the ghosts who walk the moors) while on a family vacation driving through Dartmoor. We were in search of a Celtic stone circle from a postcard I’d purchased in Moretonhamstaed, driving, windows down, listening to the wind hush through the trees. Dragonflies zipped and hovered over grazing moor-ponies and sheep.  

And then there it was—the stone house that I silently but immediately recognized as my house. Time passed as we continued down the narrow road, until my husband turned to me and said, “Wasn’t that ‘your house?’”

“Yes!” I said. “It was!” He made a wide u-turn in the middle of the road, circling back. When I got out to take a photo, the owner came out and told us all about the house—how he and his wife and children were there on sabbatical—she was an architect, he a historian. He seemed very open to having my imaginary self move in when they went back to London the next year.



Now, if this all sounds pretty indulgent, consider the value of the exercise for housing fictional characters. We all have to live someplace, whether in real life, imaginary life or in fiction and sometimes the boundaries are thinner than you might think.

Take Good Care,


Sharry

6 comments:

  1. I LOVE this idea of your house. I want to do it too now! (And by the way, I love the houses you chose...)

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  2. I love the idea of choosing a house to live in in each town you visit. I've done it subconsciously in a couple of my favorite towns. What would our lives be like if we were to live in these other places? Thanks!

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  3. Sharry, this post is eerie to me, because I have picked out the exact same house in Montpelier! I suppose many of the people who have gone through VCFA have, but still, it seems special somehow, doesn't it?

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  4. Thanks for sharing this with us! Some really amazing features.

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