Wednesday, June 04, 2008
As you can see, the above photo is of an abandoned house.
Let me explain. Years ago, maybe as many as ten, a house suddenly appeared along a road I travel twice a week when I drive to see my mother. It's not this house but it looks a lot like it.
The land the house appeared on is part of an old homestead. Picture it. A short driveway empties into a lushly planted area. Camellias and roses and trees, all planted to frame a home but there's no longer a home there. Keep traveling past that into the wide open field behind it and that's where someone planted the "new" very old white house I speak of.
Someone had moved the old house onto the land, obviously from somewhere else. I'm sorry I didn't see it moved. I love that kind of thing. Of course, a two story house appearing all of a sudden caught my attention and so every time I drove past, I checked to see what was going on. Not a lot. Eventually a foundation was poured. That took awhile. I pictured future changes as the house, now anchored properly to the ground, would evolve into a home. But nothing else happened. Years rolled by, then all of a sudden plywood showed up nailed over doors and windows. Interesting? What now? The answer: nothing. That's it. The house sits all by itself, closed up, abandoned. No plants, no paint, no sign of life. In fact, I've never actually seen anyone near the place and the changes, small as they are, have happened at glacial speed.
So, what's the deal? Did the house get sold for a dollar to someone saving it from a wrecking ball and did that someone then move it out into the grass fields, perhaps to a site that had been in the family since before the original house burned down? Was the house itself an old homestead, moved to a new site when the land it had been built on was sold? Why did the changes stop, what happened to the people who moved it, what happened to their plans? Or is there some other mystery afloat?
Doesn't the idea of an old house intrigue you? An abandoned house? Interrupted dreams? Change of fortune? Death, divorce, mayhem? Is the house a metaphor? A stage? Is it the past or the present that arouses more curiosity?
Writing Exercise: Use the house in a bit of fiction. Tie it in with characters in your WIP or create new characters.
That doesn't appeal to you? Then how would you use this house if you were to write a story where it figured into the plot?
Still no interest in participating? Okay, what building have you come across in your life that aroused speculation and formed a launching pad for fiction? Did you then go forward and actually use it?
Use the abandoned house any way you like, don't be intimidated, don't get fancy if you don't want. I hope you'll play along.