For Gaston Bachelard, our sense of home is rooted in memory and dreams; it grows from our past, which is, he tells us, ‘situated elsewhere’ (Bachelard 1994, p.58). William Goyen speaks to the unreality of this ‘elsewhere’ in his novel, House of Breath:
So this is why when often as you came home to it, down the road in a mist of rain, it seemed as if the house were founded on the most fragile web of breath and you had blown it. Then you thought it might not exist at all as built by carpenter’s hands, nor had ever; and that it was only an idea of breath breathed out by you who, with that same breath that had blown it, could blow it all away. (Goyen 1950, p.56)
If the home can so easily be blown away, how can we write our way home?
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1994)
William Goyen, House of Breath (New York: Random House, 1950)