Hampton Roads Writers


“Some women marry houses,” says the poet Anne Sexton, meaning presumably that these women marry not men but the ideal of house and home. The different etymologies of these two words are instructive. Home originally referred to village or hometown. House has in its earlier meanings the notion of hiding, of enclosing oneself. Now house indicates any house, and home is the place that is central to our notions of ourselves. Use a home in a story fragment of about 500 words. Think about the power of rooms (kitchens, basements, unfinished attics, walk-in closets) on psychology and conversation. In this fragment, make the house a unique, though passive, participant in the unfolding events. The room need not be in a typical house. Think about all the other rooms we become familiar with—classrooms, office cubicles, public toilets. What are their personalities? How do the more public spaces we inhabit affect our behaviors? You might consider keeping several characters permanently stuck in different rooms in a house, communicating by shouts, cell phones, intercoms, Dixie cups, or telepathy.


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