October 5, 2021

I’m honored to be a contributor to HOME: A CELEBRATION, an anthology out today benefiting No Kid Hungry (an organization aiming to end childhood hunger), edited by Charlotte Moss and published by Rizzoli Books. My essay joins contributions by 125 writers, poets, photographers, architects, designers, actors, and activists who were asked to create something about the meaning of home. What it is. What it means to each contributor personally. There are photo essays, drawings, stories, etc. Hope you enjoy my essay…

“It is a truism and a fantasy, a rumor and a regret. That we should each live not only in houses and apartments and domiciles of all types. But also… homes.

Places where there is love. Where the walls have absorbed the smells of cooking, the screams of babies, the silence of prayers. And the secrets of all the inhabitants who have lived there since its front door was first opened to the blossoming young couple or the crumpled widower or the joyous woman spreading her wings alone for the first time in her life.

Places where boys and girls have grown into teens and then into young men and women with big plans and untested desires and glorious potential. Where sleeping babies are looked upon by parents filled with hope and heartbreaking adoration and regrets of what their own lives didn’t turn out to be.

Places where carpets are freshly laid or show signs of wear, edges curling, pathways delineated from years of footprints, bare and otherwise, perhaps from soccer cleats, stilettos, work boots.

Places where kitchens have been packed corner to corner with Thanksgiving hosts chopping pecans and stirring potatoes. Where the coffee can practically brew itself. Where pantries have been stacked neatly in store-bought bins with cursive labels or stripped bare during times no one wants to remember yet no one can forget.

Places where living rooms have hosted parties. Where there are indentations on sofa cushions, crumbs and coins and cigarettes smashed underneath. Where an old chair sits, its inhabitant staring at the television. Perhaps a ghost chair. Its inhabitant’s ashes sitting on the wooden mantel across the room.

Places where stairways have seen lines of tuxedos and gowns preening for pre-prom photos. Where children have slid atop slippery blankets, bumping and falling and laughing all the way. Where a baby learned to go up and a puppy learned to go down. Where a Christmas tree was hugged by a banister’s curve.

Places where bedrooms have witnessed love beginning, thriving, struggling, and ending. Have had their walls covered with idols and trophies and photos and sometimes even holes borne of angry nights. Where pillows have been kissed, tear soaked, and the resting place of a tired head with active dreams that led to rested mornings or sweat soaked outbursts late in the night. Where memories are held. Never to be shared or forgotten.

Where many dreams have been deferred and denied and discarded. And where other dreams, the lucky ones, have been embraced and embarked upon.

Also, where heartache and worry and sadness have been harbored. For long days and long years. Where corners become classrooms and where closets become conference rooms and places to cry when the tears need to be alone. Where bills and dishes and rugs pile.

Places where fights have been loud, and songs have been sung. Where families have grown with births and marriage and also made smaller by death or leaving. Where new memories are made by each new inhabitant. Where the setting remains the same, but the experiences differ based upon whose singular experience it is.

So what is home? It is where joy is. Where love is. Where promise is. Where sunshine and moonlight are. It is where your people are. It is where you want it to be. It is what you need it to be. It is. It is.