Mark J. Keenan
Home, let me come home
I have been staying at the Katharine Susannah Pritchard Writers Centre in Greenmount on a Flash Fellowship for the last six days. I have been continuing work on a memoir, the project I began in March this year, which is informed by my experiences with alcoholism.
It has been a glorious week of writing, interrupted by the occasional trail run or walk. The days have been long and productive. When your bed is two metres from your desk, and there is no reason to brush your hair or trim your eyebrows, there is no real reason not to get into it as soon as you wake up.
That's not to say it was easy. Because memoir is not easy, at least for me.
A few weeks ago, I broke down after a day of writing. The focus had been on a time in my life where magnificent things were both beginning and ending. It felt like autumn and spring, flying and falling, dawn and dusk. I was in quicksand - struggling, sinking - while someone, Karen, was reaching for my hand.
I have experienced many emotions this week. I've danced, I've laughed, I've cried. I have remembered things long forgotten and found things long ago buried. But I still have a way to go. Even now, with forty thousand words written, I know I have yet to face the toughest parts, the ones I am hiding from. I want to peer into the darker places and not turn away anymore. Because it's what the work deserves and it's what I need.
Right now, though, I'm exhausted. And I am ready to go home.
Home is an interesting word and it's often been distinguished, in literature and music, as more than a location. For me, home is more of a feeling, a sense of comfort and safety. I think Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos nailed it, right here, in these lyrics.
In my life I have lived in over a dozen houses. They were all home at the time because of the people I shared them with. They all hold special memories, but they are no longer my home.
Today, home is wherever I am when I am with my incredible wife and my wonderful kids.