Posted by Guest Jan 3 2009, 5:33 am in back home, kirsten scott, writing craft
By Kirsten Scott
So, does it look familiar? The houseboat, I mean. I think this particular houseboat probably caused a rush on houseboats unlike any the industry had seen. It’s the one used in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, inhabited by Tom Hanks’ character, and among other things, it played a prominent role in me falling in love with him. After all, who wouldn’t love a man who loved a house like that? The lights on the water, the view of the boats and downtown Seattle…and of course it was gorgeous inside. Furnished like a dream. Furnished like no man would ever furnish a house.
During the holiday season we do a lot of visiting and go to a lot of parties, and I am always struck by how different peoples’ houses are, and how each house tells a story about the person who lives there — sometimes a very different story than the one I would expect. Someone I expect to have drab, by the book decorations has a house filled with art and color; someone I expect to be neat turns out to be a packrat; someone I expect to be simple has a taste for the ostentatious.
I love it. It’s a window into the soul.
We authors are always on the lookout for windows into the soul, so we use houses a lot to develop our characters. What better way to show a person’s true character than to describe their house? The man with a wounded soul lives on a cliff away from town; the woman who never broke free from her mother still lives in her mother’s house, surrounded by her mother’s belongings. We can show someone’s unexpected depth by giving them a hidden art collection, or a beautiful garden.
As for me, I live in a boxy 1950s ranch that we renovated so it’s open and light. In the living room we’ve got furniture covered with sheets (dog hair, don’t you know), two old red arm chairs I inherited when my grandfather passed away, a fairly new sofa-couch from IKEA, and a couple of fabulous Oriental rugs I ordered from Ebay about eight years ago that are fraying around the edges. I want my house to be tidy, comfortable, and above all, a place where kids and dogs can play and have fun.
(Here’s one of Grandpa’s chairs. Isn’t it cool?)
So I’m wondering…what does your house reveal about you? Are you a city dweller in a tiny apartment? A suburban mama? Do you collect original art, or maybe photographs? Is your house straight out of an IKEA catalog, or more of the shabby chic variety?
And perhaps most importantly — would you have married Tom Hanks just to live in that houseboat?!
Posted by Anna Sugden Sep 22 2008, 3:59 am in Anna Sugden, back home, Scents
by Anna Sugden
Yes, The Big Move Phase 1 is over. We are safely settled back in England. The cats are enjoying their new-found freedom; the ability to wander without fear of wild beasts and wild neighbours. We are enjoying having our own home again, with our own garden (free of wild beasts and wild neighbours!)
I was somewhat startled by the presence of a rather suspicious tile in our kitchen – how did that blasted bird get over here and plant his surveillance gear?!
Phase 2 starts today with the arrival of all our wordly goods from NJ. Can’t tell you how much I look forward to unpacking a 40ft shipping container’s worth of stuff – not! (Amazing how you get used to living without most of your things!) I can’t wait to having a proper bed again, though. My aging hips can only take so much of an airbed!
It’s amazing how quickly you settle back into your old way of life. As much as I miss New Jersey, I find it comforting that returning home has been so easy. Some days, it feels like we’ve never been away. On others, it seems like we’ve been away forever. Certainly, the US has a big place in our hearts.
One thing that has helped us feel like we’re home again, is the wonderful array of familiar scents that are uniquely ‘home’.
- cut grass
- bonfires on a crisp autumn evening
- the fresh, clean air after it’s rained
- Sunday roast being cooked
- Saturday night curry take-away
- frying onions at the local burger van
What scents or smells do you associate with home? Good and bad. When you’ve been away from home, what do you enjoy coming back to?