Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On Coming and Going Home

Thought for the day: I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home. [Robert Olen]

Honey, I'm ho-o-ome.

Well, if ya really want to be technical about it. I've actually been home for a few weeks, but I was double-doggone determined to finish editing my poor neglected novel before dipping my tootsies back into the blogosphere again. Well, (ta-DA!) I did it! And the manuscript is already (Already??? Who am I kidding? FINALLY!) in the hot little hands of  a small publishing company's editorial team. ( I don't expect to hear anything from them for several months.)

So. Time to dive back in here with y'all. I'm ho-o-ome...

T.S. Eliot said, Home is where one starts from. If that's true, does that make Baltimore my home? I mean, that's where my hubby and I both started. When we drove up there for a visit last month, were we actually... going home? Or were we coming home when we left there and came back to Georgia? As Yul Brenner said, It is a puzzlement!

According to Robert Frost, Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.  And Maya Angelo called home ...  the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

Ahhhh, HOME. A place where we're always welcome. A safe place, where we belong, and where we're missed when we leave. Sounds all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it? Yes sir, tugs at the ol' heartstrings.

But, wait a sec! Thomas Wolfe claimed, You can't go home to your family, back to your childhood...

Is it possible that the warm fuzzy images... of our old hometowns, of our childhoods... are nothing more than (gasp!) drawings in the sand? And those old realities as we remember them have long since been washed away by the waves of time?

Well, duh.

Yeah, there's a certain amount of heartache in visiting the old haunts, and in realizing how many ghosts from the past are just that ... ghosts. Gone forever. There's a certain amount of sadness in visiting the places where dead loved ones once lived and loved.

And yet...  and yet... how wonderful to spend time with family and friends who still live in our old hometown, who share a common history with us, who also remember, and ache for, some of the same ghosts and memories of the past as we do. Who remember us when we were young and foolish, who can laugh with us over shared memories. So, YES! Home is where the heart is, and no matter what ... a part of our hearts will forever linger in our old hometowns, in our childhoods, in our past. Nostalgia is what tugs at our heartstrings, and what calls us back home. 

                                                  Think this guy's gonna make it back home?

Know what? I think the best part of going on vacation is coming back home again. And no matter how much we enjoyed visiting our old hometown, no matter how much we enjoyed spending time with my hubby's mother, sister and her family, it was a vacation...  and our home... is in Georgia. 

So, what do you think defines a home? We all know a house doesn't make a home. (Dionne Warwick told us that years ago.) Is it ... wherever you hang your hat? A state of mind? Are you like a tortoise, carrying your concept of home around with you, and so comfortable inside your own skin that no matter where you are, you're... at home? What do you love most about your home? Is it the people (and critters) you share it with? The things?  Memories? Can you go back home again?

Okay, enough. It's great to be back, babbling about house and home. But ya know what? As Danielle Raine wrote, The cruel irony of housework: people only notice when you don't do it. So, doggone it, I'd better DO it, before somebody (not mentioning any names) starts noticing ...

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Mine is a beautiful small village just south of London. The last time I visited it was just like 'going home', but the noise of aircraft was unbelievable. When I was a child, Gatwick airport was just a tiny air strip; now it's the world's second busiest (after Heathrow). I left there feeling betrayed.

  2. Susan, congratulations on the milestone of completion. Your patience on the editorial team in whose hands you've placed your work is encouraging and heartening. I sincerely hope it goes very, very well for you!

    As to home, well, a lot of thoughts, here but I guess what your words and questions make me conclude is that home is more a state of mind than a place.

  3. Home, indeed, is where the heart is. I've moved so many times in my life that I've never really called any specific place home. I suppose Californa is my real home because I was raised there and lived there for nearly thirty years.
    Home is ideally the dwelling where we reside. I feel most comfortable when I'm surrounded by my favorite things - books, photos, paintings, my pianos, all the personal things. And, of course, old friends and relatives. Those people who share my cherished memories of long ago.

    I'm rambling as usual and probably not making much sense. Congratulations on editing your novel and having the courage to take time off from Blogland. I seldom seem to have time to do any serious writing lately. My blog is my sole emotional outlet.....

  4. I was wondering where you'd got to, Susan. Welcome back.

    Home is where you keep your stuff.

  5. Welcome home! I've missed your excellent posts.

  6. Congratulations on finishing your novel. This is fantastic!! And welcome home.

  7. It is wonderful to see I Think; Therefore, I Yam back in Blogland. Congratulations on finishing your book. I have no doubt that we will soon see the fruits of your labor on Kindles everywhere. I will certainly be downloading it as I know it will be a great read.

    As you pointed out, home is so many places. It is the places we have been and the places where we are. It is our memories and our comfort. I feel at home mostly when I am surrounded by the people that I have loved for so long. However, the present is where I live and that ultra comfy bed of mine is where I want to be at the end of the day.

  8. Welcome back to your home in the blogosphere! Good to see you back. And congrats on finishing your book!!! That rocks. :)

  9. Mine is split too many places.

    It is in India, in the world where I grew up. It is in small town midwest america where I learned some very important lessons and inherited another family. Rather, they inherited me. It is in Chicago, where I spent some very good years. And finally, it is in England for some reason I feel a strong bond.

  10. Cro- I know what you mean. Those little airports and two-lane roads have an annoying way of becoming mega-hubs and super-highways when we aren't looking.

    Suze- Thanks. Nothing's ever gained by being IM-patient. "Que sera, sera." And I think you're right: "home" really is a state of mind. With the right attitude, anyplace can feel like home.

    Jon- No, you made perfect sense. It's only logical that a person who's done a lot of moving around would have a different concept of "home" than one who's been rooted in the same spot for a long time. Kinda like kids from military families. For some of them, the new base becomes "home" when the familiar furniture arrives, and they put a favorite picture on the table beside their bed. Makes sense.

    Dream it- Great definition. Have you ever seen George Carlin's stand-up bit on "stuff"? If not, do a search on youtube sometime. Funny. (and true!)

    Geo- Thank you, dear sir! Good to be back.

    Delores- Thanks. Who knows? Maybe you'll be reviewing my book as a freebie download someday...

    Arleen- Woo HOO! (Might sell ONE book, anyhow!) Thanks. I LOVE your attitude about home. And it's exactly the sort of response I would've expected from you. Nice.

    Linda- Thank you. Funny, the ol' blogpsphere really DOES feel like "home". (Who'd a thunk it?)

    G's Lady- Hmmm, maybe it isn't split "too many" place at all. Maybe you're the kind of person who feels at home in many places, and that's gotta be GOOD. Yep, you're a gen-u-ine "woman of the world".

  11. I am living now in the "home place" where I grew up. On the very property. You know what? I'm ready to leave. Oh, I've been away and come back, but now it's time to move on. Don't know where yet though.

  12. Lovely post and I'm so glad to see you're back (home!)!

    I think I'm of the Maya Angelo school of thought when it comes to home. Feeling safe and free to be yourself without fear of judgment are huge on my list of warm and fuzzies. I have a friend who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, is having to live with a relative. A relative that she does NOT get along with and never has in the past, either. Hearing her tales of woe made me realize how important it is to have that safe haven to escape to at the end of the day. But then again, we always have our minds to escape to, don't we? Or at least I do (what's left of it, anyway! Hah!). So perhaps I'm of the tortoise school of thought and I carry my home with me. Attitude really is everything.

    What inspires that feeling "home" is a marvelous intangible. Thanks for the post, Susan and congrats on having your manuscript in those "hot little hands" of a publishing company! Hope you don't have to wait to long. :)

  13. Mr. C- Ah, getting a bit of the wanderlust, are you? Happens to the best of us. We considered moving a couple years ago, but reconsidered very quickly when we thought about the ordeal of having to deal with all our "stuff". I have a feeling that no matter where you end up hanging your hat, that'll be home.

    IK- Thanks. It's good to be back. Yes, I think you're right about attitude making all the difference. Happiness and a sense of home may both be states of mind.

  14. It's nice to "go home" and wonderful to "come back home" too!

    My sister and her family have "come home to Pennsylvania" from Kansas this week, and my brother has come up from Washington D.C. while they are here. Lots of revisiting childhood memories this week!

  15. Welcome home!!! I've been missing Yamminess.
    I guess I'm a turtle then. Home is where I am. It's nice to have my stuff with me but home really is where my heart is. Sometimes that's in the eyes of whoever I'm talking with, or in a memory, or downtown, or in NYC, sometimes in a car, or watching the Brandywine, or sitting in my old wing chair. I have many many homes.

  16. Dianne- Sounds like you're gonna have an extra special week. Nothing better than laughing over shared memories.

    Laura- Thanks. LOVE your answer, especially the part about "in the eyes of whoever you're talking to". Super attitude.

  17. Congratulations! I'm glad you're back. :)

  18. Susan!!! Yay! I kept thinking, I wonder if she's having a good stab at that novel of hers... very happy to hear you were (on top of visiting family and friends) and it's with a small publishing house no less! How exciting. I hope they don't take too long and I hope they will make it in kindle version just for me. :)

    You obviously sussed out a great working space to accomplish an entire novel, even with your hubby's grumbling stomach. :D

    P.S. Home for me is right here with my family and pets. I never felt "home" until I got married. Though, I wish we lived in the country. Then it would REALLY be home.

  19. congrats on finishing your novel. I've got one chapter left... and glad you're home, too; it's nice to see you back :)

  20. It's nice to have you back in the blogosphere!! And congrats on getting your novel finished!! I hope you celebrated.

  21. I am not the droid you're looking for. Find me a home.


  22. Congratulations Susan on this wonderful accomplishment! And welcome back.

    Yes indeed, home starts with comfort. I like the thought of more than one nest.

  23. Congrats on finishing your novel! I can't wait to hear more about it! Great thoughts about home! Love the song "A house is not a home." This also made me think of the wonderful song from The Wiz entitled "Home." You were well missed Susan! Julie

  24. Wonderful post, Susan. I loved all the quotes about "home."

    To me, home is any place that has a piece of my heart. I grew up in a suburb near Detroit, so part of me is there. I spent many vacations in West Virginia where my father grew up, and I love those hills. So part of my heart is there. Then I moved with my husband to the Dallas area where we raised our children. Some still live in that area, so part of my heart is there. The rest of it is here on my little ranch in East Texas.

  25. Carrie Boo- Thanks. Yeah, I'm so lousy at managing my time, the only way I was ever gonna finish with that editing job was if I turned my back on the blog for a while. Now, I'm trying to "learn" how to do better so I can get to work on another book that's been fermenting in my brain for a long time. That's a nice thing to say about how you never felt at home until you got married. Says a lot about the choice you made, doesn't it? (Good for you! And him...)

    Marcy- Thanks. Good luck with that final chapter. And believe me, it's great to "see" all you guys again.

    Connie- Thanks; it's great to be back. Didn't really do any celebrating, because this book has been so darned long in the making, and has been rewritten (and, ergo, "finished") so many times, completing this "final editing" job is kinda anticlimactic, if you know what I mean. (But it still feels pretty darned good!)

    Janie- That kinda went over my head. Not sure what you mean, but it's great to hear from you again.

    Archna- Thanks. Oooh, I like that ... "more than one nest." Great way to put it.

    Julie- Thanks. Yeah, I really love the song, "A House is Not a Home" too, and even had a video of Dionne Warwick singing it included in this post at first, but decided it didn't exactly work to reinforce the overall direction of the text. Oh, well. Made ya think about the song, anyway. So good to hear from you again.

    Maryann- Thanks. Your description of how bits of your heart are here, parts of it are there, etc, reminds me of a wonderful principle of love itself. No matter how much love we "give away", the well never ever runs dry. Maybe the same principle also applies to the attachments we feel for the places we identify as "home".

  26. I grew up moving yearly, so "home" is wherever my stuff is and people like me. :-)


  27. Congrats on completing the ms and here's wishing it loads of luck.

    I wondered if you were going to quote Lee Marvin's Wandering Star where he sang:
    "Home is made for coming from, for dreams of going to
    Which with any luck will never come true"
    Well that's not me. I love coming home.

  28. Pearl- So, you're our tumbleweed, huh? Maybe that's why you're so outgoing and friendly. If you moved that much, you had to make friend quickly.

    Rosalind- Thanks. Oooh, I forgot about that song. (But now it's playing in my head.) I love coming home, too.

  29. CONGRATULATIONS on finishing your novel. That is a monumental accomplishment. YAY!!

    Home? Been thinking about that a lot lately. I'll vote for Robert Frost or Maya Angelou's sentiment. They're two of my favorites. But I think "home" is an ever-shifting concept.


  30. Hey, this is great news. Congratulations. Now you can breathe a big sigh of relief until the next round of edits come from your publisher. Hooooray.

  31. Robyn- Thanks. I think you're probably right about the shifting concept, especially in this day and age. People don't stay put nearly as much as they used to.

    Barb- Thanks. No time for relief-sighing, though. The editors are merely reading my manuscript. Doesn't mean they're gonna LIKE it!