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Write every day no exceptions – A House of many rooms June 10, 2010

Posted by Conventioneering in Armchair philosophy, write every day no exceptions.
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Those of you who have known me for a while have often heard me talk about the idea of the House. Not a house, though lord knows I talk about that enough too, but a House.

The House is an idea that was originally introduced to me by my friend Jon. I think he may have had a different idea of what the House was than I eventually did, but in any case I have to give credit (blame?) to him for introducing the idea. It was something we used to talk about at CTY all the time, laying back in green grass and watching the clouds pass us by.

To me, the central idea of the House is a place where the family you choose lives. Not your husband or wife or your children, though I suppose they’d be welcome, but your friends. Those people with whom you share a close, deep, and true bond, those same people often ripped from us by time, distance, and other obligations. Not the friends you go out clubbing with, but the ones who are part of your nakama.

For much of my life, my friends haven’t been close by. In middle school and late elementary school, I didn’t have any friends; in high school they all went to other schools and lived in other states, and I only saw them a few times a year at reunions. In college, I had a close collection of friends on campus, but even then I also had a very large collection of friends on the other side of a glowing screen – people who I’d met in person only a few times in my life, or not at all, but to whom I nonetheless felt an incredibly close bond. Now that I’ve graduated, those close friends from college have all moved on, across the country and to strange and distant places. I’ve totally lost track of some of them, save for fleeting glimpses through Facebook. The same’s true of many of my friends from the internet: some have moved on to other venues, others have drifted away, and with still others I’ve had extremely violent falling-outs (many of which are at least partially if not entirely my own idiot fault).

I think it’s because of this continual loss that I feel like I have this need to gather them all together, to place the people precious to me somewhere that I won’t lose them, where I can be around them. Despite the name, the House doesn’t have to be a House – it can be a small community, a section of a city, a neighborhood where people live together. Where the front doors are always open, where people sit out on their doorsteps and wave to each other.

For these reasons, among others, I’ve been told that my vision of a House, of a community of friends all living together, is foolish. Some kind of sixties pipe dream of communal living, an impossible idea. In this day and age, you’re supposed to strike out on your own, eventually marry someone and settle down.

And yet the people who tell me this are the same people who keep lamenting that the digital age is making us more isolated, that we’re losing that community-based touch, that because kids don’t go outside anymore nobody knows each other. I don’t understand. How can you lament the loss of community and then turn around and tell me that my idea of a community of friends is a pipe dream?

Maybe it is, I don’t know. But I can still dream.



1. Patrick - June 10, 2010

Awww. You’ve never told me about the House before. I think it’s a great idea. It reminds me of when I lived with awesome groups of people in college (mostly sophomore and senior years).

I think one obstacle is that people often have to move in search of opportunity, and in our groups of friends the interests tend to be similar but the career interests are very different. Couples are usually the only groups of people who are willing to make meaningful sacrifices for the other like that.

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