Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween and Sense of Place



We have giant orange pumpkins on the front porch and smaller "ghost" pumpkins inside, painted by the kids in celebration of the season.

The horses got fall shots today and were perfectly behaved. They're now prancing around the front field, showing off in the cool weather.

While mucking this morning I was thinking about home and homesteads and how many of us are so mobile now we've lost some of the sense of being in a place for a long time and what that offers us.

My childhood was quite stable that way, although we moved to a different house when I was 11 and so my childhood years were in a different house and neighborhood than my adolescence. During college and graduate school I moved so many times it's hard to remember them all.

There was one rental house, though, that I rented for 3 and a half years in my later 20's and then again when I moved back from California. I came back to a house where I'd lived through some major angst and two painful relationships - but I returned with a professional degree and a career and a heck of a lot more insight into myself and life than I'd left with.

The dating I did then was smarter and the men more mature and emotionally healthy. As it turned out, I got married while living in that house, and we stayed there for several more years because it was such a great house. My son was born while we lived there and it strikes me today as somewhat remarkable that I went through my first major relationship angst, my first real therapy, marriage, AND my first pregnancy and childbirth in the same space.

This all has a point, I promise.

Earlier this week I was reading Toni Magee Causey's Murderati post on ghosts, and it made me think of a paper I wrote in high school about paranormal phenomena. Part of what I wrote about was the idea that houses, places, store up energy from the people who live in them.

If that's true, imagine how powerful it is if you have lived through major life phases in the same place. All that energy. all that knowledge and insight. I wonder if this explains what often happens when families go "home" for holidays and major intensity occurs. Sometimes it's negative.

But today I was thinking of it from a different angle and realized there's a lot of potential there if we choose to tap into it.

Embrace the ghosts. Celebrate the struggles. Create something good with all that energy.

Here's to a happy and insightful Halloween.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello, Billie. I like this post. The energies of a home's inhabitants definitely DO find ways to manifest in the environment. I'll save you the bizarre story, but I can attest to this as fact from my own experience. I'm glad you lived somewhere where you were able to accumulate some good energy. My experience was not with good energy and it put quite a scare into me. Sometimes the very walls can send it back to us.

I have decided to go ahead and do NaNo. There is a story(?) that I started a few years back. I abandoned it a mere four pages in and the concept and presenting characters have periodically hounded me since. I'm scrapping the four pages and keeping the characters. They popped onto the 'stage' that is a permanent fixture in my mind and presented me with a new beginning. I look forward to seeing where this story goes. I don't know ahead of time, as I am not a plotter. It just never really works that way for me because of the stage in my mind. I just watch, listen and write. I never know what I'm getting myself into. I hope it's something good. :-)

L

billie said...

Thanks, L. The interesting thing I forgot to note about the house I lived through so many things in is that the original owner killed herself there. My understanding is she was old and frightened to live alone (she had a family but husband had died and children were grown and had their own families by then).

There were a number of times when I lived there alone that I too was frightened there. But it always felt like the house itself was protective, and the fear had to do with other things.

It was good to return there when some of my own "stuff" was clear and lay that new, bolder and more centered energy on top of what I'd left before.

Anyway... I'm so glad to hear you're doing NaNo!!

Many writers use outlines but I'm with you - I feel too boxed in that way and the story is contrived. I much prefer to let it happen. Doing it this way takes more of an act of faith, I guess, but it seems like it's more organic and deep as a result.

Good luck - I am planning to do a quick NaNo update post tonight after I have put in my own first day of work on the new project!

Matthew said...

I like the giant orange pumpkins looming at the top of the steps!

billie said...

They are lovely, aren't they? So lovely we didn't carve them yet!