In a week I’m moving from the place I’ve lived the longest in my life. Six years. That’s my record.
My daughters consider this their childhood home. Chloe was here from 12 to 18. In that period of my life, I lived in five homes. When people play those conversation games where you’re supposed to “imagine your childhood bedroom,” I can’t do it. My mind cycles through a few places, and none of them have meaning.
I’ve bitched about this place. It has problems. And even if I could buy it, I wouldn’t. I had intended to rent for two more years, until Rose finished high school, then buy somewhere else. I don’t like two of my neighbors. They’re the kind of people that make people start homeowners associations. To me, HOAs are like dress codes — only needed by idiots. But here we are, with junk cars in the yard, dogs on chains, and no city ordinances worth a damn. You can’t teach people how to live. They get it from their parents, from their childhood homes. If those were disasters, how could they know better?
My childhood was chaos, so that’s what I know. It taught me that wherever I was wasn’t good enough. That’s true for this place, too. And yet, with the move one week out, with my garage mostly empty and new plants in the front yard, I’m feeling it. I’m going to miss this place. Even with its problems, it’s the best place I’ve ever lived.
I found another place nearby. Rose won’t have to change schools, which was my biggest fear. I went to three elementary schools and two high schools, and I didn’t want either of my kids to go through that. And they haven’t. So, yay me. One bit of history, unrepeated, one childhood lesson unlearned.
I’ve met the new neighbors. They’re nicer. My immediate neighbor has been there 20 years. No junk in anybody’s yard. And I’m next to a little park with two Pokestops. That’s prime suburban real estate, right?
But I won’t be staying there, either. Two years at most. Then, in my 50s, I’ll be buying a house for the first time since the divorce. Can it become home, the way people think of home, before I’m too old to care? How many times can you do this without breaking something inside you? How able am I to heal?
I don’t know.
I write to understand life. Sometimes it’s a blog, sometimes it’s a novel. And sometimes I feel so ashamed of the crap I’ve written that I pull it down, change URLs, move in virtual space.
I hired an editor to go through my first three books. She got the edits back to me this week. I’ll look at them in May, apply what makes sense, discuss what doesn’t. I’ll republish them, dread the reviews, delight in the reviews, hope for those little direct deposits from Amazon.
I’m also writing something new. It’s a murder mystery. I have an agent picked out, a logical target for this kind of tale, since I know she’s the agent for another writer with a similar background and interests. But I don’t know if I have the patience or courage for that sort of thing. By the time it’s done, I will have spent two years writing it. I’ll just want to get it out there.
Then I’ll be embarrassed of it, take it down, rethink it. I’ll wish I’d done it better. Even if it’s very good. Even if I get 50 good reviews, it’s the 11 bad ones that I’ll remember.
I think my children know they’re loved, even if their dad’s nuts.
And I’m glad books and blogs don’t have feelings.