row houses

028_00When Georgia Heard was asked what one image she thought represented her life, she answered “layers,” clarifying “as in the Grand Canyon.”  I would have to say houses, as in rows of identical ones.

Georgia Heard wrote in Writing Toward Home, “The seemingly random observations I make or the subjects I choose to write about are like the branches of a tree whose roots reach down to the depths of myself and reveal my obsessions….The task of finding your key images is lifework.”

Pam Houston wrote in “Pregnancy and Other Natural Disasters,” an essay in A Little More About Me, “There is only one story of our lives and we tell it over and over again, in a thousand different disguises, whether we know it or not.”  And I swear one of her characters says this too, but I can’t find it.

I don’t know what my one story is, but I’m working on it.  The more I write, the more I see similar shapes.  I have pictures from all over Columbus of these row houses.  (Unfortunately, I just realized, not digital ones.  And my scanner is refusing to work with Vista.)  When I travel, I take pictures of these houses as well.  The one at the top of the blog, as well as the one in today’s post, were both taken in Provincetown in 2006.  The one on my website is of the same houses but taken by a professional photographer.

I think the houses have something to do with exteriors and interiors.  All alike on the outside, but what goes on inside must be so different.  Or maybe a fascination with the exterior to avoid the interior.  Also, maybe something to do with simplifying our lives to one of these small little houses–something manageable.  Perhaps even , though this one will surprise me if it turns out to be true, something to do with community.

In an interview at the back of Waltzing the Cat, Pam Houston said, “I surrender myself to the truth of the metaphors I have chosen (that’s the scary part), and eventually, the story finds its own truth.”

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2 thoughts on “row houses

  1. Hi Betsy, I appreciate the link to Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas. I did not know about this organization and enjoyed checking out their website. I’m going to try to find out if there are more operations like this around the country. Thanks for reading the blog!

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