“I love my house not just as a thing, but as a concentration of emotions and sensations, contained within a receptacle which in its style, its stance, its materials, its degree of grandeur and its position on the map exactly represents all that I have most cherished or coveted in this life.”
So writes Jan Morris in Pleasures of a Tangled Life (1989, Random House) and says that many of her friends, who are Freudian amateurs, find her preoccupation with her house unnatural. She goes on to describe in loving detail all the things that she loves about her house. I’m sure that there are many of us who can identify with the pleasure that our homes give us, and I’m sure that there are few of us who could express this quite as beautifully as Jan Morris does.
I go on quite a lot about the relationship between ourselves and our homes – that’s after all the whole idea of Inside Out & Outside In. So, I understand how our homes can reflect comfort, beauty, order (or the opposite) and how the pleasures that our homes provide can be complex and deeply sustaining. But I’ve never quite seen the relationship in the way that Jan Morris describes:
“Not only do I immensely admire my house and all it stands for, but I have come to cherish it in a distinctly erotic way. I feel myself in intimate physical rapport with its old oak, and frequently talk lovingly to its walls and empty spaces… When I enter its presence after an absence I experience more than mere relief or comfort, but something undeniably akin to lechery. Now there is something for the Freudians! But more neurotic still, you may think, is my last thought: that if on the one hand I love my house more salaciously than I should, on the other my house, I long ago came to realize, is perfectly infatuated with me.”
Isn’t that lovely! I’d love to hear how much, and how your home loves you?