Home Is A State of Being, Not A State of Having ...
House Of Bricks
March 23, 2016
I have recently published my second novel, Dear Teddy. It is a bittersweet romance that takes place over a period of 50 years. The two main characters are definitely the stars of the tale; however, there is an old brick house in a small village in the Ottawa Valley that also plays a crucial role in the narrative. Bricks and mortar often represent anchors in our real lives and this is certainly true in my novel.
Over the course of the story, a number of different people occupy this house, each with their own particular reasons for being there. The same four walls that from the outside change very little attempt, on the inside, to offer different things to different people. This, of course, reflects one of the main principles behind my Nest Building philosophy: home is a state of being and, for each and every one of us that state of being is unique, comprised of our individual histories, needs, deficiencies, gifts, purposes, voids and excesses.
Let me introduce you to some of the occupants of this house:
Robert Fulford is a recently retired newspaperman. He has spent his working years digging into the lives and secrets of others while carefully protecting his own. His move to a small village in the countryside is in search of peace and refuge—a safe place to review and live out his life.
The Harpers are a young family embarking upon new beginnings, including buying their first home, starting a new career and raising their children. Jim Harper is a man who requires order in his life and runs his dental practice in a slightly detached but highly organized manner. He struggles when the methods that are successful in his office prove less so in his home life. Eventually this fresh new start in the durable brick house crumbles under the pressures of failure and disappointment.
Following a tragic loss, a fresh start in a new town seems very enticing to Norm and Murial Shepard. However, as the saying goes, you can run but you can’t hide. Unresolved pain is not deterred by a new address and is soon unpacked along with the rest of their possessions. Hoarding is not a design issue; it is an emotional one as Muriel’s out of control addiction to shopping illustrates.
Excerpt from Dear Teddy:
“Muriel’s habit was ramping up. She simply couldn’t help herself; the addiction demanded she feed it. Besides, a bargain was a bargain … even if she had absolutely no use for the items she was indiscriminately accumulating. She pored over the ads on the back of trashy magazines and sat glued to those awful television commercials that aired in the middle of the night on cable. If she saw or heard about a super-duper anything, she had to have it. K-Tel must have loved her. She had practically every useless gadget they’d ever produced—most of them still in their original packaging since she had no real interest in crushing ice or dicing vegetables at great speed. Her ‘as seen on TV’ collection included classics like the smoke-swallowing ashtray, a record rack that flipped through LPs with the touch of a finger and, of course, enough lint gathering brushes and sticky rollers to clean all the dark suits on Bay Street several times over. She was addicted to the Shopping Channel and, credit card in hand, had spent more on those ‘three easy payments’ than any item could ever be worth. Muriel was feeding the black hole left by Eric’s untimely death even though all the factories and sweatshops in Taiwan and China combined couldn’t mass-produce enough of anything to satisfy it.”
The final occupant of this important house is a retired spinster named Georgina. She has spent her entire life watching from the sidelines. Her move to a rural community is motivated by her need to belong and she hopes that small town life with affable neighbours exchanging gossip over garden fences will fulfill her dreams.
To find out more about this fascinating, somewhat quirky, parade of characters, you can purchase Dear Teddy from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords … click here for more information.