February 25, 2015

“Involuntarily, I thought of Christmas and felt angry. Christmas time was my least favorite season. I was allergic to artificial pine scent. All too often, my fingers went red from pine needle splinters. The sap always stained the couch cushions and caused my menstrual cycle to become barely visible. Those moments when pregnancy seemed a nightmarish reality were torture. I stood in front of the red room and touched the skin above my womb. I stood before the green room and touched my womb again. I expected to feel a knot pushing up from inside the flesh but the skin was unchanged.”

 

I’ve been considering the idea of the haunted house. I was standing at my bookcase and found that all the books I kept on my “favorites” shelf were about haunted houses in some form. Houses that occupants can’t escape from. Houses that defy the laws of physics. Houses that are stuck in a dream land. Houses that aren’t grounded in reality (I live in the real world. I don’t need my fiction to live there with me). The house doesn’t have to be literally haunted but there needs to be an element of claustrophobia.There has to be something otherworldly to it. Or, if it isn’t a house, then it has to be an unending landscape, a space with no escape in sight. My “books I want” list was reaching nearly 100 titles and when I found this relationship between my most beloved books, I went through the list and kept the titles that dealt with a haunting in some form (the list is now around 35 titles which I can handle). I like the idea of finding out what happens behind closed doors. And houses can be terrifying entities—after all, where do you go when something is “wrong” with your home? It’s the nightmare of the domestic sphere but exaggerated.

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