Home (Or A Lackthereof)

I saw a post on Twitter recently that said “Retweet with the type of character you always write.”

Hmmm…..type of character I always write? Interesting.

Out of the three novels I’ve written, I believe each protagonist to be remarkably different. In fact, even the stories themselves are pretty varied: I went from a contemporary new adult story set in Las Vegas to a middle grade story in Germany to a historical fiction piece set in Dust Bowl-era Oklahoma.

No, my stories are different. My characters are different. And yet, there is one familiar string that ties each story together.

One thing you may not know about me is that I am a military spouse. I’ve been married to my husband, an Air Force pilot, for ten years. And, in those ten years, we’ve moved five times. Germany, Korea, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and–most recently–Tucson.

And by “most recently” I mean five days ago.

Yes, you may have noticed my absence from blogging and/or social media over the past month, and that’s because my family and I were busy packing up our lives in New Mexico and crossing the state line into Arizona. For the fifth time in ten years, a new city, a new house, a new life.

And, for the fifth time in ten years, sewing up old curtains to fit new windows. Can I just tell you, if there was ever a metaphor for military life, sewing curtains is it. Taking a piece of something that fit so well in one location and trying to make it fit somewhere else. Curtains, furniture, memories, life. Time and time again, we are forced to start all over, to try and belong to a place in which we have no ties.

It was during this sewing marathon, as I’m thinking staring at blank walls and wondering how long it will take before this strange house feels familiar, I began to realize the over-arching theme in all of my writing: home.

Finding home. Searching for the meaning of home. Returning home. All three of my novels are bound together by the human connection to place. As military families, we are quick to put down roots; my husband and I have the moving process down to a science. But those roots are shallow. They have to be. Because in a few short years, we will need to pull them up and plant ourselves somewhere else all over again.

Writing is how I try to make sense out of this concept of home when I do not have a true home of my own. It allows me the opportunity to express my longing for belonging in a world where I’m never tied down to one spot for more than a couple of years.

Through my stories, I find a home. And it is a home I can take with me even when the Air Force comes calling again. My stories are where I belong, no matter where it is that I write them.

So, until home becomes a real location with deep roots and “forever” houses, I will continue to write about it…and find comfort in the characters searching for their place, too.

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