Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Spots of time


Apropos of nothing in terms of writing, but what a strange time it is here at Casa de Kev. We’re set up to move to our new house in just under three weeks, having lived quite happily in this old place for the last 15 and a half years.

The view in the pic above has been the background of our daily comings and goings all that time. A comfortable place, and one where we — unexpectedly, almost — started getting old! To think that when we arrived we were scarcely into our forties… You can do the math. When your days start skimming by like fence posts on a long drive, it’s hard to believe how many of them you’ve gone through.

Weird, too, when you start sorting your stuff to pack and you realize you haven’t laid eyes on some of it for 15 and a half years. You tucked it away in a bag or a box and forgot about it. You didn’t know you were even missing it until you opened up that box and saw it for the first time in ages, and you get a shiver of nostalgia and another reminder that you’re not the same person you were when you packed it away. Some hair is missing from your head. Some age spots and wrinkles have intruded. Your memories are still intact, for the most part, yet you need to air them out from time to time to make sure they weren’t dreams. (Maybe this is one reason we writers obsessively write things down.)

When we left San Francisco back in ‘97, we had an inkling we’d never live there again. We were right about that. But we would never have imagined we’d wind up spending the bulk of our mid-life in a little shingled cottage in a small town, or that we’d lose the particular people we lost, or that we had in store a number of surprises that would flavor these years like sugar, and pepper.

It’s not that I’m getting wistful about this house, which has been both a sweet spot to live and write as well as an exhausting antagonist at times, as old as she is. Times she nearly killed me! Then those others she gave me and my wife the nicest nest. Like all important relationships, there’s enough of both to have made it interesting.

No, I’m wistful about the life we led here.

Now we’re headed for the hills, where, while we can still ambulate without the aid of sticks or helpers, we intend to spend a lot of time on trails with a couple of dogs, savoring the days and feeling lucky.

Strange, though, to count down the nights left here and to look out that front window and know we have something new ahead after all this time.

12 comments on “Spots of time

  1. Helena Hann-Basquiat
    February 23, 2015

    That nostalgia when you open that long-forgotten box is incredible. All the stories that come flooding back, the good and the bad. Best of luck in the move — methinks you’ll need new books to grace your new bookshelves. (ha ha).

  2. John W. Howell
    February 23, 2015

    I’ve moved over fifteen times and each time it is as if everything is new again.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 24, 2015

      Fifteen times! Reminds me of the old song: “Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man…”

      • John W. Howell
        February 24, 2015

        And out of those times I lived ten years in one place

  3. kingmidget
    February 23, 2015

    Looks like a beautiful neighborhood to have called home for 15 years. And I’m envious of your relocation. What a great opportunity for you.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 24, 2015

      Thanks, Mark! I’ll scout out some American River locations for you. 😉

  4. pinklightsabre
    February 24, 2015

    The crazy, really sad thing (I think) is when you empty a house out completely and take a last look at it. They really are like living things, in that they take on the spirits of their inhabitants.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 25, 2015

      It’s true. That’s why they appear in dreams a lot too — at least for me. I’m always revisiting places I used to live in dreams, though usually weird shit is going on there. Better call Freud…

  5. 1WriteWay
    February 25, 2015

    I wonder how we’ll feel when we leave our home after 20+ years. I think it will be hard because we’ve put a lot of work into it (and after 20 years, I finally got the kitchen I always wanted ;)). And adjusting to a new place (even in familiar territory) will no doubt be stressful. We had certain expectations when we moved here, and pretty much all of them have failed. We don’t want to make that mistake again.

    We’ll miss our house truly, but, not the town or even the state really. While there are spots that we consider very special, like the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, the overall experience of living here, for us, is rather defeating. Of course, if we were already retired, maybe our attitudes would be different. Hard to know when you spend most of your waking hours in state government hell 😉

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 25, 2015

      It’s strange to be detached from the area you live in. I’ve had that too, back when I lived in San Diego. As beautiful as it is down there, it just didn’t fit my sensibilities. I worked a block from the beach, but — strangely enough — you get used to that. San Francisco, on the other hand… 😉

      • 1WriteWay
        February 25, 2015

        One of the things we miss most about SF is the neighborhoods. We had about a 5-block radius in which we lived our daily lives. We developed relationships with merchants (bookstores, restaurants, the corner market). There seemed to be continuity when we lived there. I know it wouldn’t have lasted; our return trips have shown us that. We tried to replicate that in TLH but the car culture and transient population has made that nearly impossible. After almost 25 years of residency, our local coop and one Mexican restaurant are the only places we’ve developed any continuity. I don’t know what we can expect by moving … just that our expectations won’t be so high 😉

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2015 by in Et alia and tagged , , .
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