Home Is Where The Heart Is.

I’ve been packing and clearing out all week and I’ve got blisters from assembling furniture – badly! The reason will become clear in the near future; lets just say, there’s change ahead for our family. I haven’t had a chance to write, or the energy to compose a new blog, but all my clearing and moving got me thinking about the big house move we did ten months ago, so here’s a wee something I wrote then. (sentimental old fool, that I am.)

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After nine years, we’re moving house. I’ve moved before but this is the first time I’ve done a ‘family move’. There was no family before, which seems kinda strange to think of now. Did I have a life before husband and children? I think so… it’s just some days I can’t remember it at all. Anyway, I digress. To say the job has been huge is an understatement. We’ve down-sized, while we renovate an old property, which makes it even more challenging. How did we ever get so much stuff? Where does it all keep coming from? Where are we going to put it? If I had a pound for every time we’ve had the, ‘keep, or don’t keep’, debate over the past few weeks. My husband hates clutter, whereas I have a tendency to hoard, and there you have a perfect scenario for lots of jaw-clenching tension. Why aren’t there more dramas about people moving house? I mean actual prime-time fictional drama, about the emotions that are dredged up whenever we are forced to move our lives from one place to another. A house move is about more than the material stuff of sofas and beds and dining tables; it’s the passage of time, the memories made, the good times and the bad times; it’s about a life lived.

As we empty cupboards and disturb furniture from resting places, it’s like stirring the pot of life: our lives – together, and the sediment that’s been lying dormant at the bottom for years is suddenly floating on top and visible again. We were unmarried when we bought this house, just two single people; now we are four; bound permanently by our family ties to one another. I became a wife, and a mother under this roof, my second son spent the first night of his life under it, I have written hundreds of thousands of words within its walls, we’ve laughed a lot and cried many tears too, it has been a comfort, it has been a safe-house, a haven and everything that a home should be.

The original part of the house dates back to 1890, it had a heartbeat long before we entered it, and it will beat again with new lives soon. Some say a house is just bricks and mortar, maybe so, but this house has absorbed part of me. It has been witness to many mistakes and lessons made in the first decade of my marriage. Now, as it is stripped of all our paraphernalia the sound of my keyboard echoes as I write these final words under its roof. Nothing is left; it is an empty shell once more. I wonder how many times this has happened in its history? I imagine it rolling eyes and saying here we go again, who’s next? So farewell, dear house. Thank you for looking after us and keeping us safe. I am filled with love and gratitude; the number twenty-two will always mean you to me.

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I thought I’d left ‘Grey’ behind me.

Now, that I can see this glorious line up ahead, it means I can detach from my laptop and enjoy a little bit of non-writing time. This is how I came to discover ‘Sky Catch up’ and the current series of Grey’s Anatomy!

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I have not watched this show for, I’d say, six years. That was, until Monday night when I found myself being sucked down the worm-hole of the lives of Derek and Meredith. I was reminded why this series has become a juggernaut of  American drama. The drama is relentless, the production values are through the roof, the acting is great, it holds you in its bubble for forty minutes and the writing, oh the writing, is superb.

Unfortunately I happened upon the episode when (spoiler alert!) Derek dies! So, there I was in floods of tears for the lives of these fictional characters  who err on the side of ‘cheese’ more often than not. “It’s a good day to save lives.” As Dr. Shepperd’s line goes, but if we met a doctor in real life who said that, let’s face it we’d punch them. But, in the world of Grey’s Anatomy it works. My husband claims never to have cried or become emotional over a film or  book.  (no, he’s not a robot, but sometimes I wonder!) When I told him of my late night blubathon caused by the TV the following conversation took place,

“You must enjoy it.”

“No I do not! Why would I enjoy getting upset?”

“You must, or you wouldn’t do it.”

“I don’t choose to do it. I get swept up in the characters, in their lives, I empathise. That’s why I get upset.”

He looked at me blankly, obviously not having a clue what I was talking about (he’s a business man, he deals in hard, cold figures). “I still think you must enjoy it.”

At this point I terminated the conversation and decided to blog about it instead. So, here I am days later still thinking about poor Derek and Meredith and wondering what makes us engage with characters? Why do some resonate so clearly that they transcend time? In short; what is it about great fiction that makes us engage emotionally with its characters. Why do we ‘allow’ ourselves to become sad, scared, happy, or angered by made-up people? It’s fascinating, don’t you think? And the answer lies at the heart of all fiction. Fairy tales and stories have been told since the beginning of time, we will always be entertained by a great story. How to make it ‘great’ is the ultimate challenge.