Monday, January 30, 2012

Good news and good times

WAHOO!! I just learned that my latest Samantha Brennan & Annabelle Haggerty Magical Mystery, MAGICAL ALIENATION, has received a Lefty Award nomination for the Best Humorous Mystery of 2011, by the Left Coast Crime2012 convention! I’m absolutely dancing on air. Writing isn’t about awards, it’s about doing the work we love. But it is exciting and rewarding when our readers and fellow writers choose our novels for special notice. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. Congratulations to Donna Andrews, Rita Lakin, Jess Lourey, Cindy Sample & John Vorhau, my fellow nominees.

The Lefty Award nomination for MAGICAL ALIENATION makes the Southern California tour I’ll be embarking on this week extra special. Not only will it be great to see my old friends, but really gratifying to share this milestone with them. You can see the tour dates and times here:

Despite the long drive from Northern Arizona to Southern California, I’m really excited about this tour, not just because I’ll get to see old friends, but because it means I’m going home. Although where I live now is also home.

What exactly does “home” mean? I’ve heard it defined something like: “The place where, when you show up there, they have to take you in.” Boy, does that sound comforting. But it doesn’t apply to me. Though I spent my entire adult life in California, I have no living relatives there, nobody who has to take me in.

I know lots of people — all better heeled than I am — who own multiple houses, meaning multiple places are home for them. While I wish I could also afford to have homes in both locales, I’m not sure I would handle it as well as others I see. I suspect that when I was in one house, I would find myself needing the stuff I left behind in the other. The clothes, the books, the little touches that turn it from a generic shell to the much-loved surroundings of the ones who transformed that house into their very personal space. I guess it’s just as well that I don’t have that two-house problem, after all.

I’m a Cancer, and we crabs tend to need our personal shells around us. We’re homebodies. I guess to me “home” translates into a place that offersfamiliarity and comfort. A place that reflects all the things that define me, those things I can name and those that are indefinable even to me. Both the personal surroundings and the larger space in which I feel safe. Where everything I see reminds me of the good times I enjoyed there, and even the tough times I knew, which have helped shape me into the person I’ve become.

So, yes, Southern California will always feel like home to me. I know when familiar places come into view, I will feel an excited kinship again, as I do every time I return, no matter how long I’ve been away.

And I also know that when I return here to Arizona, when my car reaches the crest of Arizona’s 17 Freeway outside of Camp Verde, with the panorama of Sedona and the Verde Valley spread out before me, I will also feel that same sense of belonging.The same sense of being home.

It’s actually a pretty good thing, having multiple places that feel like that good, even if I can’t fully explain why.

How about you? Where is home? What does that mean to you?

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