"Where Thou art -- that -- is Home"

(Thus spake Emily Dickinson.)

So, moving is not one of my favorite activities. And finding a home in a place that is 1,158 miles from my current home, well, that's stressful, because, you know, I'm down here, not up there, and I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to get up there, so really, couldn't some person up there who lives in the perfect place call me and say, "Here you go, it's yours for free, and I'll send my Learjet tonight to pick you up so you can come take a quick look. Also, I'm cooking you beef stroganoff."

Why can't that happen?

(I love beef stroganoff.)

In the meantime, it comforts me to mull over the home I want some day, maybe in a few years -- maybe the next move after this one, or the move after that. There's no rush. But once I make that "final" move, I'll spend years growing into that home and making it mine. Here are some of the things I dream of:
  • Wind chimes. The big ones with deep voices.
  • A cat.
  • An excellent paint job in an excellent color, like navy blue, eggplant purple, or forest green. I love forest green houses.
  • Light.
  • Quiet.
  • Built-in bookshelves.
  • A good kitchen for cooking and bread-making.
  • A room with no phone or computer, with the comfiest writing chair the world has ever known and a window through which I can't see much other than trees and sky.
Does where you live now feel like home? If not, what's the home you imagine?


Artemis Grey said…
I've had several homes, and I haven't lived in all of them. Sounds strange I know, but it's true. I grew up in a town, but the house was never my home. The fireplace might have been close, but my home was really the woods behind the house. All that's gone now, because someone thought it'd be really beautiful to live in the woods. So they built a huge houseing complex and now all that's left are the massive stones sticking out of the hillside and a very polluted creek.
The first time I stepped off the plane in Alaska, I was home. But I couldn't stay there, so for now it's a home I'll have to go back to some time. It was the same when I went to Ireland. I got off the plane and went home. I have a home in the teepee of one of my best friends too. Everyone in Bear Clan is home inside that teepee, with a warm fire and guitars and a lot of laughter.
As for conventional homes, I'll take everything on your list, and add to it:
Rough stones
Raw wood
Forests surrounding the house - old ones
Swift running creeks
Some day I'll live there, and when I do, maybe you can come visit, or stay a while, if you haven't found your own home yet. :)
murgatroid said…
My dream home would be very colourful, if not in the paintjob, than in the furniture and decor. Hanging flags, and posters, and paintings, and a multi-coloured sofa.

And a room for my Precious Items (i.e. my book and DVD collections). The books would be all organised (alphabetical authors for the fictional, Dewey Decimal for the non-fiction. My DVD system would change every month, alphabetical, date, genre, similar actors, colour of the cases, etc)

Perhaps I'm revealing more of my obsessive compulsive tendencies than my imaginings of my dream home...

OOH and also my bedroom would be a pool and my bed an inflatable boat. That's the most important bit.
Sarah Prineas said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Prineas said…
(trying this again with proper linkage)

You have described my home! My actual house, I mean. Minus the windchime, plus an extra cat. Here is a picture:

Sarah Prineas said…
Argh! It doesn't like the long linky. Here it is in three parts, to fit:



Sara Kankowski said…
My home right now feels like half-mine; location-wise, it's perfect, but there are many other aspects that are sorely lacking.

I live in the woods. By woods, I mean the back half of a college prep school campus that my fiance and I work for, in the teacher's cottage, nestled between the strip of woods behind the track and the strip of woods next to the lacrosse and soccer fields. But woods enough that we have a fox, two deer, a feral cat colony, mice, raccoons, an owl, and the wind whistling through 100 year old pines at night.

All of that is home. But the cheap grey carpet, and the plywood walls, and the non-working fireplace, and unheated rooms and awkwardly-angled walls are not home at all. Nor is waking up to the facilities workers at 6am working in the garages that sit right next to our house.

For me, home means:
Hardwood floors (with lots of thick rugs)
Rich colors--on the walls, the floor, the furniture
Walls made of bookcases
Interesting and unique art
Anonymous said…
Heh heh - I see a LOT of houses, some of which have the fortune to be also homes. I'm a Realtor. :-) I play a game of mentally moving into the houses I represent. I suppose in some ways it helps me identify with them and understand them. It also gives me many opportunities to figure out features and aspects of houses that I value. Materially speaking, I would kill or die for a large butler's pantry with lots of drawers and cabinets and open shelves on which to display my pretty platters and yellow-ware bowls and collection of pitchers, and to enable pleasant looking through my linens rather than the disgruntled rummaging that happens now. Of course, the butler's pantry would be close to a wonderful kitchen, with lots of counter space for all the cooking and baking I love to do, and yes, please, two wall ovens. (I recently read about a 14 layer cake that looks like so much fun to make but would take forever in a single oven.) And a room to call my own, with some bookshelves, a big window, a large comfy chair with a couple of throw blankets so that I can curl up and still have room for my dog next to me. No boys allowed (dog excepted).

Aside from this, though, my true home is filled with my friends and family. That huge kitchen I want is what I use to lure them to my home. Ok, so a wood burning fireplace would add nicely to the fantasy. But mostly I am happy when I'm surrounded by those people who make me laugh, and whose love and opinions and support I value. The kitchen would be great, but it's not a necessity. The people are what make my house a home.
Artemis Grey said…
Strictly speaking, this doesn't have much to do with homes, not conventional ones anyway. I have two questions you can sock away for a rainy day question answering session Kristin. How did you meet other writers? And who did you get to read your works BEFORE you got published? I love the 'home' I currently occupy, but I have no one to talk to about writing and no one wo read my writing and give me feedback. Learning is so slow when no one's correcting you...
Anonymous said…
I would love built in bookshelves and have the perfect wall for them in my bedroom in parent's house... sadly, i live there 1/3 of the year now and will only be there for another year and a half anyway... wish I'd thought of asking dad for a project when I was in high school...
Lyssa said…
Home for me is a simple house filled with books, windows, and giant beanbags (in lieu of chairs). Rich colors on the walls and sunshine through the windows, slate floors, and a fireplace when it rains. And there will be rooms that resemble places in stories. And there will be fountains. And there will be a tower library.
And also cats.

(If you need help painting your house when you move in, Kristin, I'll come help as long as you promise to talk about books in general and I can pester you about Graceling. I'm sure you could get some other takers, too. ;)
Unknown said…
Vagabond House

When I have a house... as I sometime may...
I'll suit my fancy in every way.
I'll fill it with things that have caught my eye
In drifting from Iceland to Molokai
It won't be correct or in period style,
But... oh, I've thought for a long, long while
Of all the corners and all the nooks,
Of all the bookshelves and all the books,
The great big table, the deep, soft chairs,
And the Chinese rug at the foot of the stairs;
It's an old, old rug from far Chow Wan
That a Chinese princess once walked on.

My house will stand on the side of a hill
By a slow, broad river, deep and still,
With a tall lone pine on guard near by
Where the birds can sing and the stormwinds cry.
A flagstone walk with lazy curves
Will lead to the door where a Pan's head serves
As a knocker there like a vibrant drum
To let me know that a friend has come;
And the door will squeak as I swing it wide
To welcome you to the cheer inside.

For I'll have good friends who can sit and chat
Or simply sit, when it comes to that,
By the fireplace where the fir logs blaze
And the smoke rolls up in a weaving haze.
I'll want a woodbox, scarred and rough,
For leaves and bark and odorous stuff
Like resinous knots and cones and gums
To chuck on the flames when winter comes;
And I hope a cricket will stay around,
For I love its creaky, lonesome sound.

There'll be driftwood powder to burn on logs,
And a shaggy rug for a couple of dogs-
Boreas, winner of prize and cup,
And Mickey, a lovable gutter pup.
Thoroughbreds, both of them, right from the start,
One by breeding, the other by heart.

There are times when only a dog will do
For a friend- when you're beaten, sick and blue,
And the world's all wrong; for he won't care
If you break and cry, or grouch and swear;
For he'll let you know as he licks your hands
That he's downright sorry- and understands.

I'll have on bench a box inlaid
With dragon-plaques of milk-white jade
To hold my own particular brand
Of cigarettes brought from the Pharaoh's land.
With a cloisonne bowl on a lizard's skin
To flick my cigarette ashes in,
And a squat blue jar for a certain blend
Of pipe tobacco. I'll have to send
To a quaint old chap I chanced to meet
In his fusty shop on a London street.

A long, low shelf of teak will hold
My best-loved books in leather and gold,
While magazines lie on a bowlegged stand
In a polyglot mixture close at hand.
I'll have on a table a rich brocade
That I think the pixies must have made
For the dull gold thread on blues and grays
Weaves the pattern of Puck- the Magic Maze.
On the mantelpiece I'll have a place
For a little mud god with a painted face,
That was given to me- oh, long ago,
By a Philippine maid in Olangapo.

Then- just in range of a lazy reach-
A bulging bowl of Indian beech
Will brim with things that are good to munch-
Hickory nuts to crack and crunch,
Big fat raisins and sun-dried dates
And curious fruits from the Malay Straits,
Maple sugar and cookies brown
With good hard cider to wash them down,
Wine-sap apples, pick of the crop,
And ears of corn to shell and pop,
With plenty of butter and lots of salt-
If you don't get filled it's not my fault.

And there where the shadows fall I've planned
To have a magnificent Concert Grand
With polished wood and ivory keys
For wild discordant rhapsodies,
For wailing minor Hindu songs,
For Chinese chants and clanging gongs,
For flippant jazz and for lullabies
And moody things that I'll improvise
To play the long gray dusk away
And bid good-by to another day.

Pictures- I think I'll have but three;
One in oil, of a wind-swept sea
With flying scud and the waves whipped white-
(I know the chap who can paint it right)
In lapis blue and a deep jade green-
A great big smashing fine marine
That'll make you feel the spray in your face-
I'll hang it over my fireplace.

The second picture- a freakish thing-
Is gaudy and bright as a macaw's wing-
An impressionistic smear called "Sin,"
A nude on a striped zebra skin
By a Danish girl I knew in France.
My respectable friends will look askance
At the purple eyes and the scarlet hair,
At the pallid face and the evil stare
Of a sinister, beautiful vampire face.
I shouldn't have it about the place,
But I like- while I loathe- the beastly thing,
And that's the way one feels about sin.

The picture I love the best of all
Will hang alone on my study wall
Where the sunset's glow and the moon's cold gleam
Will fall on the face and make it seem
That the eyes in the picture are meeting mine,
That the lips are curved in the fine, sweet line
Of that wistful, tender, provocative smile
That has stirred my heart for a wondrous while.
It's the sketch of a girl who loved too well
To tie me down to that bit of Hell
That a drifter knows when he finds he's held
by the soft, strong chains that passions weld.

It was best for her and for me, I know,
That she measured my love and bade me go,
For we both have our great illusion yet
Unsoiled, unspoiled by a vain regret.
I won't deny that it makes me sad
To know that I've missed what I might have had.
It's a clean, sweet memory quite apart,
And I've been faithful- in my heart.

All these things I will have about,
Not a one could I do without,
Cedar and sandalwood chips to burn
In the tarnished bowl of a copper urn,
A paperweight of meteorite
That seared and scored the sky one night,
A Moro kris- my paper knife-
Once slit the throat of a Rajah's wife.

The beams of my house will be fragrant wood
That once in a teeming jungle stood
As a proud, tall tree where the leopards couched,
And the parrot screamed, and the black men crouched.
The roof must have a rakish dip
To shadowy eaves where the rain can drip
In a damp, persistent, tuneful way;
It's a cheerful sound on a gloomy day.
And I want a shingle loose somewhere
To wail like a banshee in despair
When the wind is high and the storm gods race,
And I am snug by my fireplace.

I hope a couple of birds will nest
Around my house. I'll do my best
To make them happy so every year
They'll raise their brood of fledglings here.
When I have my house I will suit myself,
And have what I'll call my "Condiment Shelf"
Filled with all manner of herbs and spice,
Curry and chutney for meats and rice,
Pots and bottles of extracts rare-
Onions and garlic will both be there-
And soyo and saffron and savory-goo
And stuff that I'll buy from an old Hindu.

Ginger and syrup in quaint stone jars,
Almonds and figs in tinseled bars,
Astrakhan caviar, highly prized,
And citron and orange peel crystallized,
Anchovy paste and poha jam,
Basil and chili and marjoram,
Pickles and cheeses from every land,
And flavors that come from Samarkand;
And hung with a string from a handy hook
Will be a dog-eared, well-thumbed book
That is pasted full of recipes
From France and Spain and the Caribbees-
Roots and leaves and herbs to use
For curious soups and odd ragouts.

I'll have a cook that I'll name Oh Joy,
A sleek, fat, yellow-faced Chinese boy
Who can roast a pig or mix a drink
(You can't improve on a slant-eyed Chink).
On the gray-stone hearth there'll be a mat
For a scrappy, swaggering yellow cat
With a war-scarred face from a hundred fights
With neighbors' cats on moonlight nights;
A wise old Tom who can hold his own
And make my dogs let him alone.

I'll have a window seat broad and deep
Where I can sprawl to read or sleep,
With windows placed so I can turn
And watch the sunsets blaze and burn
Beyond high peaks that scar the sky
Like bare white wolf fangs that defy
The very gods. I'll have a nook
For a savage idol that I took
From a ruined temple in Peru
A demon chaser named Mang-Chu,
To guard my house by night and day
And keep the evil things away.

Pewter and bronze and hammered brass,
Old carved wood and gleaming glass,
Candles in polychrome candlesticks,
And peasant lamps in floating wicks,
Dragons in silk on a Mandarin suit,
In a chest that is filled with vagabond loot;
All of the beautiful, uesless things
That a vagabond's aimless drifting brings.

Then, when my house is all complete,
I'll stretch me out on a window seat
With a favorite book and a cigarette,
And a long, cool drink that Oh Joy will get,
And I'll look about my bachelor nest
While the sun goes zooming down the west,
And the hot gold light will fall on my face
And make me think of some heathen place
That I've failed to see- that I've missed someway-
A place that I'd planned to find someday;
And I'll feel the lure of it drawing me,
Oh damn, I know what the end will be.

I'll go. And my house will fall away,
While the mice by night and the moths by day
Will nibble the covers off all my books,
And the spiders weave in the shadowed nooks,
And my dogs- I'll see that they have a home
While I follow the sun, while I drift and roam
To the ends of the earth like a chip on the stream,
Like a straw on the wind, like a vagrant dream;
And the thought will strike with a swift, sharp pain
That I probably never will build again
This house that I'll have in some far day.
Well- it's just a dream house, anyway.

-Don Blanding

(So I already put in my ten cents, but I forgot I had this. And it's worth posting.)
Artemis Grey said…
Oh, and by the way, we have a set of those massive wind chimes. I've never lived anywhere that we didn't have wind chimes of some sort. Nothing beats lying in the sun on the ground listening to them sing...
J.L. Hart said…
Over nine years ago, my husband and I bought the house we live in now. It was love at first sight because of the wide pine floors throughout the entire house. I knew that I could change anything else, but I wanted those beautiful floors.
There's a lot that I'm still changing, but my walls are painted in a full palate of colors throughout the house, which had been a dream of mine.
Every spring I plant new shrubs and perennials along with my vegetable garden because after thirty-three years, I still love playing in the dirt.
Best of luck in finding your dream home, Kristin, but for now, why not buy your wind chime and paint your walls? Don't pass up what you can have today while waiting for tomorrow to arrive :)

NoGrandmother said…
As you know, I hate my house and the junky suburb in which it sits.

I dream of an indoor saltwater lap pool, a dressing table, and a window seat; a light-filled room all my own, in which I can write on the walls; a warm kitchen with room for company; a big stone fireplace; a good place to walk nearby (ocean or forest path).
Anonymous said…
I finished Graceling today. In fact, I forgo showering and becoming a contributing member of society, because I just couldn't put it down. I think I read it in two days. And I'm in love. I could pick it up and read it again right now. I laughed, I cried, at one point, towards the end, where Bitterblue is especially brave, I gasped aloud. (Trying not to have spoilers.) It was everything a story should be. Thank you.

I will be recommending your book to everyone I see, especially my charges at the library! Authors like you make my job easier! I'm so happy you have a blog, so I can fangirl at will!
hey, no free house, but we have beef stroganoof.
which i spelled worng again. *sigh*

"driving away from the wreck of the day"-wreck of the day by anna nalick
tinkandalissa said…
Things I wish I had:
hardwood or concrete floors
lots of art
a library (the one at the Biltmore Estate will do)
a fireplace
woods and mountains and nature all around or gently rolling green hills
stone or slate
a lovely creek and waterfall to make relaxing noises
maybe a coy pond
no neighbors
everything organized and labeled with lots of fabulous storage and shelving
can I throw in a kitchen-aid mixer?
aside from all of that, I'd also accept an old gothic castle nestled between hills and cliffs over the ocean...
Things I have:
a house that has to be home for a while but not near what I dream of
lots of neighbors - blah!
lots of animals, including one very very special fat kitty
Things I had:
a cute little log cabin-ish house a mile up a mountain with barely any neighbors
a cute black bear that travelled thru the yard but didnt mess with anything
tons of light
woods and mountains
wind chimes
and an impossible mile long dirt road that got terrible ruts when it rained and made it almost impossible to get up and down and very impractical for having to commute to work everyday (I actually had to buy a 4wheel drive vehicle just to live there), sigh...but if I was a published writer and didnt have to work the 8-6 job, I so would have stayed there.
tinkandalissa said…
I LOVE beef stroganoff too! My Nana has a yummy recipe.
Pam said…
I love my home because it's filled with my husband, kids, dogs, extended family and friends. The sunlight coming through the kitchen windows is beautiful. I squished a comfortable chair into the corner of the kitchen just so I could spend more time in that room with the fantastic light. Sunday I planted 30' of lettuce and cut back the roses (I live in the south and gardening season is already upon us). This weekend I'm planting carrots and radishes - yum!

I wish I had a bigger yard and prettier brick, that the sunroom floor didn't slant and that some kind person would clean out the disgustingly cluttered garage and repair and paint the wood siding. I have a running list of house projects, but I usually spend that money on books, good food and camera equipment. :)
Anonymous said…
Honestly, I try not to let myself think of "my dream house." I worry that if I plan it all out and never get it--- oh, I don't know what I'll do. It'll just be terrible. So, I'm going to think about this one some more, but I will also try NOT to think of it.

Kristin Cashore said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin Cashore said…
oh, thanks, everyone, for sharing your beautiful present, future, and dream homes!

Sarah P, you're house is mucho cute.
Kristin Cashore said…
So, wanting to share a fun skill, I just tried to do a little HTML lesson about linking to other websites, and it failed miserably. So, instead of giving the lesson myself, I'm just going to send everyone to the lj explanation. :o) It's here. (That link I just created, btw, is the fun skill I'm talking about.)

Convinced that I have now utterly confused everyone, I'm leaving now.

Anonymous said…
I grew up a Navy brat -- always on the move -- so the house never mattered. My family was my only "home." Since growing up, I've lived in houses I've really enjoyed and which feel "lived in," but I have yet to feel as if I belonged to one place.
Anonymous said…
I'll design it for you!!! Gladly!!!
-From the Ornery Onion
Anonymous said…
My Dream house is basically as you described it. I think that almost everyone loves at least the bones of your description. I used to live in a housejust like that, with a spectacular view of the Sandia Mountains on one side, and a horizon on the other. I just moved a couple months ago from what I now realize was my dream life to the concrete filled, metal and brown city of Worcester, Massachusetts. I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I realize now that you don't know you have something until it is gone.
Anonymous said…
I, too, often dream about a home that I'll someday have. Blue, it'll be blue. With a yellow door. It won't be too big, just a bedroom, kitchen, living room, and "office" (a room in which I can write for hours and forget that reality even exists). Oh, how I wish I could live in that house. But more so, I want to live in a fantasy world, though I suppose that would mean it wasn;t really fantasy. But anyways, yes, I have a dream home.
Anonymous said…
I'll design my house. It'll be a nice solid color on the outside, and each room will have its own theme (red, white, modern, tuscan) A tuscna-style kitchen sounds nice. And I designed these stairs with the most beautiful railing.....and then one room will be purely for arts, where I keep my instruments and paints and books of course!

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