Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

House of cards*

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Unsettling. I had been working on a novel for years, one based very loosely on a family I knew when I was a teenager (and interested in this family’s middle daughter), but I was having a lot of trouble with it because the story couldn’t find its center. Part of the problem was that the house they lived in — a strange, decrepit farmhouse that had to be a hundred years old when I was there in the summer of ‘73 — was pretty much a character in the book. It caused a lot of the problems these unfortunates were having. For example, its upper and lower stories weren’t connected by an indoor staircase. You had to go outside and take a kind of fire escape contraption up to the bedrooms upstairs. The place should have been haunted, if it wasn’t already. I remember its smell vividly.

I used to drive by it occasionally when I still lived in St. Louis, just to have a look and take notes. And to wonder what life would have been like had I (unwisely) hooked up with that daughter. Even though I was glad things had turned out the way they had, I’d look at that house and feel nostalgia for the life I didn’t have.

Then, the last time I went by — a few years ago now — the house was gone. Simply gone. It had been demolished for a generic strip mall, or maybe it had fallen down on its own accord and the strip mall grew up around the ruins.

It’s a strange feeling when the stage sets of your life up and vanish.

(Image via Joanna Bourne’s Photostream.)

*I should have noted up front that this has nothing to do with Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series, House of Cards, starring the irrepressible Kevin Spacey.

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This entry was posted on July 19, 2013 by in Et alia, Writing and tagged , , .
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