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  • Leanne W. Smith

No place like home

“Raising the glass she offered a toast, ‘To time alone in a cabin. New year. New life. New me.’”

From Alone in a Cabin, chapter 3, before the snow comes and all goes bump in the night.


I love home. Homesteads. Houses. Land. Cabins. People and the places they live.



A patch of country, as Wendell Berry writes in this excerpt from Jayber Crow, about a man looking back over his life, who was sent to an orphanage at age ten.


“After I quit waking up afraid, feeling that I might be nowhere, I began getting used to the place. I began to take for granted that I was somewhere, and somewhere that I knew, but I never quite felt that I was somewhere I wanted to be. Where I wanted to be, always, day in and day out, year in and year out, was Squires Landing and all that fall of country between Port William up on the ridge and the river between Sand Ripple and Willow Run. When I heard or read the word home, that patch of country was what I thought of. Home was one of the words I wrote in my tablet.”


Jayber’s longing for home here made me cry.


When my father’s health was in decline, the themes of home became central in his thinking. Though he had lived for fifty-five years in Nashville, home to him was Perry County, the place he had lived the first nineteen.


Home is a powerful force that pulls on us.


“There is a spirit in every home that meets us at the door.”


I attribute this quote to Laura Ingalls Wilder in the opening of Alone in a Cabin, though I can no longer pinpoint where she actually wrote it. If she didn’t say it, something she did say made me think it. And I wrote it down, once upon a time, and I kept it tucked in the pocket of my memory. In the same way that I heard an interview once with Maya Angelou and she spoke of how words—laughter and tears—seeped into the walls of structures over time.


I believe it. I have felt it. Haven’t you?


Every home is not a happy place. Every family doesn’t evoke the nostalgia of a Norman Rockwell painting, every structure itself the coziness of a Thomas Kincade cabin, cottage, or seascape. I wish they did. I wish I could give everyone the gift of a home like it ought to be—a place filled with love, safety, and belonging.


My parents gave me the gift of home, and I try to offer it—at least on a small scale—to readers.


Amazon currently has the Kindle for Leaving Independence discounted to $0.99, so if you’re looking for a gift for a friend...


If you haven’t yet read A Contradiction to His Pride, reader Mayrine said, “Wow. Just wow. What a follow up to Leaving Independence! Excellent story line and an end that literally made me pump my fist in the air!” Thank you, Mayrine. That ending made me want to get up out of my writing chair and dance. (In fact, I did.)


This is an optimal time of year to read Alone in a Cabin. We’ve had snow twice already in Nashville, and a January snowfall is exactly what planted this story in my mind. Also, Amazon has all three formats for Cabin deeply discounted: hardcover, paperback, and ebook.


(Last thing, as a post script: Cabin has 99 reviews on Amazon – can I get one more to make it a clean 100? Also, I have a personal goal to double my email list in 2022. Will you help me by forwarding this blog post to a friend?)


What I’m watching: Queen of Katwe on Netflix and Being the Ricardos on Prime Video. Vastly different stories. Excellent, both.


What I’m listening to: The 10-episode “We are supported by” Armchair Expert podcast series.


What I’m teaching: That a purpose statement gives you the language to effectively tell your story. A purpose statement explains your why.


What I’m loving: Snow falling on cedars. The bright green of Brussels sprouts cooking in a silver pot. The smell of Harvey & Sons cinnamon tea in my new stoneware Rabbit Room mug.

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