Friday, July 10, 2009

Come on In


Welcome to Home Confessions, a place where you can share your joys, sorrows, frustrations, hopes, and desires about home.

Home and how people live is a subject that fascinates me. In fact, I’ve been writing about other peoples’ homes for years (about eleven actually), for the Boston Globe, Coastal Living, New England Home, Boston Common and others.

I’ve written about two-bedroom condos and 14,000 square foot estates. I’ve covered window boxes and lighting, but one thing I’ve learned over the years, no matter who you are or where you live or how big or small your space, we all yearn to have a home.

If you grew up in the States, I’m willing to bet that you’ve moved a few times in your lifetime. Either you’ve rented, bought, sold, coveted a place you couldn’t afford, or worried about losing the one you already owned. I’ve moved a lot—about 14 times in the last 30 years (yes, really); kind of like a hermit crab moving in and out of different shells.

Here’s a fun fact about hermit crabs: did you know that the shape of the hermit crab’s most vital part—its stomach—is determined by the shape of the shell it once inhabited as a juvenile?. I think the same is likely true for humans. What do you think?

The other reason for the title—the confessions part of it—is about revealing who we are by looking at where and how we live. As I see it, our dwellings are vessels that contain and shape our personal stories. That’s what I hope we’ll be sharing (and confessing) here.

I’d like to start by encouraging you to post a story about a favorite spot in your house. Tell me why it makes you feel good. I’ll tell you about one of my favorite spots in my next post. Feel free to send me photos. I’ll post those, too. Send photos to: jessicakeener1(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thanks for stopping by. My door’s always open.

Jessica

18 comments:

  1. Wow, what a wonderful idea! I'm on the run right now, but tomorrow I'm coming back to answer your questions.

    Definitely stop by LitPark and leave a link so folks can hop right over!

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  2. great idea for a blog. I'm away for the weekend, (leaving tomorrow morning but rushing around) but definitely have lots to say!

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  3. I'm a homie too. I can't find my camera right now (boys making skate videos means even when I can find it, there is likely no memory or no batteries!), and my favorite spot tends to change, but I'll tell you about my current perch. When the weather is decent, I sit at the old wooden table out back. The view is mostly trees - nine of which we planted ourselves - with only slivery peeks at our neighbor's houses. (I like to fool myself I live in the country.)

    Some days I get fancy and spread a cotton tablecloth over the table because paper wasps come by to nibble on the wood. I bring everything out there and sometimes my notes blow into the pool, but that makes for a good reason to dig up the skimmer and fish them out. One time it meant saving a chipmunk who had dropped in silently and couldn't find his way out.

    My dog comes out and lies in the shade, and every time I look up I can feast on what has been growing well. There is one maple we hauled home in our trunk and planted - obviously it wasn't huge - and in two years it has grown bigger than my neighbor's 30-year-old cherry tree. I get an irrational thrill from that. The flipside is, if something doesn't grow well, it unnerves me.

    What I can't wait for is to see the interior of your house, Jessica. As well as Sue's and Caroline's.

    Great blog!

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  4. What a cool blog! I recently learned that if you google "cool living room" in quotes, just like that, and hit Google images...my house is on the second page! How the hell did that happen? Even the dog is in the photo. So if you still need me to send it, I will, but that's the lazy way out for me.

    Anyway, now I have a new place to stalk. I'm gonna be eating this up.

    xo

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  5. Jennifer JeffersonJuly 11, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    In the summer, the deck becomes my favorite room. A white wooden rocking chair, the paint is peeling. A book and a glass of iced tea. Tall trees, the pattern of light on leaves. The yard is very shady. I keep buying pots of flowers to put on the deck. The pansies are starting to get leggy. The basil is tall. At star market saw a huge pot of snapdragons in a mix of pastel colors. I couldn't stop thinking about them, so I went back and bought them. One end of the deck is a yard away from the side of a detached garage along which I've planted pink roses, hostas, trumpetvine. Lilies. Mint. I am reading "Good Enough to Dream." by Roger Kahn, about one summer with a minor league baseball team.

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  6. p.s. I got so caught up in my favorite spot that forgot to say--I'm glad you're doing this. Have fun!

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  7. Oh, this is great to hear from you all. I'm also away for the weekend at my friend's house in Vermont--one of my favorite HOUSES and places on earth. More about that in a future post. But when I return, I'll be responding. I love hearing about your table, Tish, and your pots of flowers, Jennifer. And Robin, why am I not surprised to learn that anything "cool" on google leads back to you. Caroline, I know you're house obsessed, so I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

    Susan--thanks--I'll be linking to litpark, another favorite spot of mine.

    Let me say quickly that my favorite spot for today was standing in a field by a barbed wire fence while trying to talk to 30 cows and their calves in the adjoining pasture. The calves were curious and came closest to me. One stayed near, nibbling leaves from a tree.

    Thanks, all for stopping by! Will write on Monday when I'm back.

    Jessica

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  8. This is such a cool idea. You are so intuitive and honest and crisp with your words, articulating like I can only dream of being able to do.
    'Home' brings up so many emotions and deeply buried feelings. My space/home has evolved so much over the years, just as I have. I'll write more later after I reflect a bit.

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  9. The above is from Mary. mom is my user name following Greta's blog when she was in Cape Town.

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  10. Mary/mom,

    You're doing a great job of using words yourself. I love the idea that your space has evolved along with your personal changes. That is a fabulous insight. Do tell more. Do you have a favorite spot?


    Jessica

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  11. Great idea for a blog. Oh boy do I have complex feelings about home. Maybe something here will inspire me to post them. But not yet. :-)

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  12. Rusty,
    Complex feelings are a home's best friend. What we want from a home, what we're not getting, what we love, hate, or ignore about it. The list is almost endless. I hope you'll share one strand of those complex feelings at some point.

    Glad you stopped by.

    Jessica

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  13. Great blog, Jessica! I'll be following it!

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  14. Bill--Thanks. Can't wait for your book to come out offering ideas about a different way to live, and will mention it here when it does.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Jessica

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  15. Hi Jessica, Love your blog. Yes, I do have a list of uncommenced chores that need doing in our not-so-old house of 20 years. Your problem is that your house needs work because it has lasted so long. Ours needs work because late 20th century builders didn't care if the house was still standing 20 years later or not! After trying to sell our house in 07 and 08, we have found a new sense of contentment in taking more loving care of it. We never thought we'd call Peachtree City, Georgia "home", but that's what it has turned out to be.

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  16. Hi, Susie.
    Good point. Newer houses need a different kind of attention. Rather than bringing back what's faded, new houses beg for details that give them individuality and depth. I'm glad you're taking more care. It says a lot about how you're feeling about yourself--and it says something about the struggle many of us have about where we live. Finding contentment is not easy.

    Jessica

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  17. Jessica, finally!

    I love my front porch, which in the summer is a sort of haven with a dogwood tree and yellow primroses on one side, and a huge trumpet vine and wild muscadine grape vines on the other.

    The cats and I sit out there, and often enough, we let the horses and donkeys come to the front yard where they walk right up to the steps to visit.

    I realized as I thought about this post that my primary element of "home design" is creating little nooks all over the house. I have always done this, and my houses/spaces have always been a sort of artsy hodge-podge, but I love wandering from one favorite spot to the next.

    Thanks for persisting in sorting out the comment thing - I love the idea for your blog and am sure I'll enjoy responding.

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  18. Billie,
    I love this idea of nooks. There's something wonderful about wandering through your house stirring up the energy. No stale air. The other vision of donkeys and horses coming up your front steps is pure delight.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Jessica

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