It is raining here in Florida as it does during the summer months. I am sitting in my home and have just finished your excellent article about Shirley Jackson and the idea of home. I was hoping that I could have gotten a bike ride in this evening but, I am stuck inside. I have read most of her work and have her new biography.
I have been able to see similarities in my association with my home and what you wrote. I purchased my home in 2001 in my name even though I had a partner, let’s call him Hal.
When Hal died suddenly in 2013, my world crumbled. He created a secret second life that could be created by Shirley herself. The other woman and myself shared on his estate. There has been plenty of change (for the better) that I have made changes of our house to my home. Tossing furniture that we both used to what really suits me now. Not to be chained to the house, when I leave for trips I open my home for someone to house sit. I made a budget so that I no longer do the drudgery housework. (I am giving someone else in my neighborhood a job after all) though I work outside of my home while Hal and I were together (25 years) I did feel the pull of needing to leave. To be outside, even if it was my house on paper.
Growing up and even now I know the pull to leave the house and home to be outside for a certain amount of time. Sunlight and fresh air heals a lot of things. The Hulu’s “Handmaids Tale” captured the claustrophobic world of women locked in their pretty cages. When a scene is shown of women being outside you can almost smell the crisp air. I visit my sister in upstate New York during the winter and I press myself to leave the house, as comfortable as hers is there is a quality if being caged due to hunting season and how quickly the sun sets in the winter.
A few years ago I created a panel discussion for Dragon Con. It was titled, “Adventuresome Women of the 19th Century.” We had four female speakers discussing the lives of several women who carved their own path. (I can find my own notes if you would like) Several women had the ailments that most women of the time were prone to have. Hysteria was prevalent. But once these women were out in the wild, their maladies disappeared. Only to return when they found themselves back in their own lives.
I hope more people will read this. Thank you. Rox.