For more than a decade of my adult life, I devoted myself to various forms of rootlessness that allowed me plenty of opportunities for adventure and travel. My living and sleeping spaces included a friend’s VW van parked inside of an airplane hangar, a shared dorm room at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, a backcountry treehouse in Colorado, and my trusty North Face tent. While inspired stories sprung from each of these places, I couldn’t call any of them my home.
A little more than a year ago, my husband and I bought a house in Colorado in an area where we both think we’ll stay–for good. Within the past year, this place has undoubtedly become our home, but I’m not so sure that the house, itself, has much to do with all that’s involved in the home-building process. And as I read submissions for Proximity’s HOME issue, I discovered how others, too, are engaging with this revelation.
In this, Proximity’s ninth issue, we’ve collected nine diverse stories of home, some of which do relate to home as a tangible space–and others that embrace the idea of home more metaphorically and symbolically. In all of them, however, home serves as a springboard to truth telling that ranges from funny to deeply profound.
Unsurprisingly, geographic locations figure prominently into several of these stories. In “Alone in Plymouth,” Jarita Davis writes a poetic tribute to Cape Verdeans who originally came to Plymouth, Massachusetts to work in cranberry fields–and then stayed, becoming landowners and an important part of the area’s local history. In “Something They Don’t Tell You About Tulsa,” Betty Stanton employs beautifully crafted language to tell the compact true story of a legendary tree.
In the home-themed selections from Close Up Baltimore, you’ll find true stories told in the voices of those photographed as well as an inspiring interview with photographer Joe Rubino. And in Kelly Thompson’s “Hand Me Down Stories,” you’ll discover how a Kentucky home is the wellspring from which generations of stories flow.
If you’re a writer or an artist, you’ll understand the allure–and often the struggle–in finding an authentic voice, the one that you, alone, possess. In “House Arrest,” writer Olga Kreimer tells of her hilarious attempt to unleash the coils of her vocal cords, revealing in the process how powerful it is to find a home in one’s own voice.
Two essays touch on how relationships tether us to our homes–and then tell the stories of what happens when those relationships dissolve. In “At Least One Rainy Season,” Keph Senett escapes the Canadian winter and a painful breakup by moving to Mexico. And in “An Abandoned Home,” writer Erika Schreck explores the empty home of her father and finds many living memories that remain in his place.
If you’re a traveler or someone who has been immersed in multiple cultures, you’ll connect with the tension that Allison Jane Smith expresses in “Landmines,” a story about what it’s like to become immersed elsewhere–and then come home. Finally, in the multimedia poem “You Were Home” by Stephen James, you will experience a visual and lyrical tribute to home.
Traci J. Macnamara