Blogs by L J Hippler
Thereís No Place Like . . .Where Your Stuff Is.
6/30/2008 5:44:08 PM
Iíve finally come to believe that ďhomeĒ is a concept. Itís not a real place, necessarily. On one hand there are people who live in the house or on the farm owned by their parents and grand parents, their neighborhood, friends, their place of worship are all a given part of their heritage. In 2008 that scenario is about as likely to happen in the United States as is the guy who goes to work at XYZ Company out of high school, and retires at 65 with a gold watch in his pocket. I suppose it could still happen, but only in an alternative universe like Bizarro World.
The other extreme experience is when you go through life, your home being a very transient thing, where you donít live in a single spot for more than a year or two at most. Through the years, there are places you sort of like or sort of donít. But there is no ďhomeĒ. Home is just where your stuff is.
Itís not that one of these is good and the other bad. But I do believe in the power of place. I believe we are affected by where we live even though we canít always have a say in where that place is. The place where we live plays as much of a role in forming who we are as does our DNA or the language that we speak and think in. I believe that when writing a book or a story the setting is as much of a character as any of the people involved. It has a personality. It has a presence.
The house I spent my childhood in still exists, sort of. Thereís been an addition built onto it. I look at the house and marvel that we all lived in that little place though it didnít feel like a little place back then. The stately walnut trees and fallow field that were behind the house are gone. In the summers a city of birds lived in the greenness of those walnut trees. The tall, yellow grass of the field represented summer to me. In December, the field became a snow blanketed picture of winter, the beauty of which I only really began to appreciate years later, in retrospect. Today, a six story high berm topped by I-95 sits where the field used to be. And the house has had a legion of owners.
But in my heart of hearts thatís still my home. In my dreams I still live there. When things are going well in my life the rooms of the house are clean, and bright, and newly painted in my dream. If Iím off track and going through some sort of turmoil, the house looks old and shabby, and wind blows through broken windows.
Though we never verbalized it that way, we had a pretty prominent sense of place in Baltimore. More than a few friends were amazed when I bought a house in Catonsville. ďWhy do you want to live way up there?Ē theyíd ask. The neighborhood of Catonsville is a fifteen minute drive from Arbutus if you take your time. Yet, when I moved back to Arbutus nine years later there was an unspoken but very real feeling of homecoming for me.
Today, I live in eastern Washington State which, to an Arbutus native, is the geographical equivalent of the planet Xeno. But itís where Iíve chosen to live. And it is my home. When you move into a house itís just a place until you do something to it. Only after you clean it, paint it, decorate it, change it somehow, is it your home. Itís the same with relationships. Here, with friends and neighbors and groups, Iíve touched and changed some of them in little ways. Theyíve touched and changed me. Itís not a tangible thing; but thereís a feeling of belonging when youíre in a place because youíre needed there. Iíve come to believe that feeling is what constitutes ďhomeĒ.
Besides - - all my stuff is here.
More Blogs by L J Hippler
A Little Validation - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Curb your enthusiasm Ė but let the bigotry fly. - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Best Case, Worst Case and Most Likely - Monday, December 29, 2008
On Hotness - Sunday, November 16, 2008
The Week That Was - Sunday, October 12, 2008
When-and Where-You are Gaius - Monday, September 15, 2008
Dialog - Monday, August 18, 2008
Recession, Economics and Dead Men Walking - Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thereís No Place Like . . .Where Your Stuff Is. - Monday, June 30, 2008
A Little Validation - Thursday, June 05, 2008
Money, Class and Living Well in Fiction - Thursday, May 08, 2008
LIVING small - Monday, March 31, 2008
Who is bigger-than-life? Whoís not? - Friday, February 29, 2008
You write what now?Ē - Thursday, January 31, 2008
About last night . . . - Monday, December 31, 2007
Here's the thing . . . - Thursday, November 22, 2007