I'm a Missourian. Sixth generation. I've often talked about that.
Take the girl out of Missouri, but you can't take...
Well. You probably aren't going to take the girl out of Missouri.
Maybe that's not so unusual. Maybe there really are quite a few people who stick to their home state.
But here's something that probably really is unusual:
My home--as in, the house I live in--has been my home for every year but one.
I live in my childhood home, with family. Like most artists, I've had some seriously lean years. I needed financial support. When I could help more with the bills, I have (of course). Even when I couldn't chip in as much monetarily, I've always done that dirty work that comes with a house: the mowing, the shoveling, the reglazing the windows, the sistering the joists under the house (which is all becoming more and more important now that the folks are getting older).
I think some other writer did something similar. Eudora Welty, maybe. I think I remember reading an interview where this writer said it was important to watch lives play out. I get that--I've seen the neighborhood go through all sorts of phases, been here as babies were born and kids moved out (and sometimes returned). I've seen changes in elderly neighbors. A couple of years ago, I said goodbye to two different neighbors (senior men, two next door neighbors who passed away within a few months of each other). I'm an animal person, and have even grown attached to the pets on the street (I once wrote with a neighbor's cat on my lap out on my deck).
I could win the lottery tomorrow, and I don't think I'd ever let go of the house. It's home, in a way nothing else will ever be home.
And besides, the story on my street's not over. Far from it. I have plenty more chapters to witness. Lessons to learn about how lives play out.
All of which influences the kind of stories I want to tell...