Maybe because my sister Becky is moving to a new house, I have been thinking about houses and homes lately. A quote I love about where we live:
Home is a place where you can catch a dream and ride it to the end of the line and back. Where you can watch shadow and light doing a tight little tango on a wooden floor or an intoxicated moon rising through an empty window. Home is a place to become yourself. It’s the right spot, the bright spot, or just the spot where you can land on your feet or recline in a tub of sparkling brew if you’re so inclined. It’s a place of silence where harmony and chaos are shuffled like a deck of cards and it’s your draw. It’s somewhere you can close a door and open your heart. (Theo Pelletier)
and a bit of poem, from Anne Sexton’s "Welcome Morning":
All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
Today’s prompt has to do with houses, obviously! Writing about place is essential, no matter what kind of writing you do. What would a novel be without a setting, a travelogue without a place traveled to, a biography without a description of the house the subject grew up in? Places help to define us, and perhaps our home defines more than anything. Onto the writing!
Today’s Writing Prompt:
Pick a place in your home that has a significance to you. Describe it, but also push past appearance to explain why the spot matters and to illuminate why and how it helps to define you.
Once I’ve dragged myself out of bed each morning, I walk down the hall and, through the frame of the doorway, look across the front room and out the window to see the type of weather the day might hold. Then I turn and walk into my kitchen, around the table, and to the back door. I stand there and look. Looking starts my day. Sometimes I press my forehead against the glass pane; maybe I am wearing slippers or socks or maybe my feet are bare against the wood floor. The back doors are the French style, made of glass and framed with white that needs, desperately, to be painted; usually they are smudged with children’s fingerprints. Beyond the doors is the back porch, which is sometimes a place of refuge, sometimes a peaceful spot for contemplation. When I am in a sleep-walking span of time, I tend to end up there often in the darkness, muddled with laughter and confusion when I wake. The kitchen behind me is one of my favorite parts of our house, its purple paint, its accumulation of good meals and arguments and laughter and sicknesses and homework at the table, but for the beginning moments, even if just thirty seconds, what matters is the exit of the kitchen, the looking outward.
I take the temperature of the mountain every morning, through the view of my back door. I note the progress of its snows (rising or lowering upon its flanks, depending on the season) and of its scant greenness; I measure the day’s possibilities with the length and breadth of blue (or grey or cloud or white wind) along the peak. I take a deep breath, I draw my gaze downward into my own realm, my oddly-shaped backyard with my family’s marks left on it—sidewalk-chalk portraits, flowers I haven’t deadheaded yet, brilliant green lawn, someone’s flip flop buried in new snow, the neat winter stackings of patio furniture. My own yard full of memories.
This morning looking done at the portal of doors, however short it lasts, helps focus me. It brings the peace of nature into my heart, which gives me courage; it reminds me that our struggles are small compared to the world and also that our small struggles are all we have. All we are, and so are the most important thing, too. It brings me solace when I am discouraged and adds a silver edge when I am joyful. It is inward and outward, all at once.
(I am trying a different linky because the other one didn't seem to be working...hopefully this one will!)