Montana, Seattle, California – little bits of home everywhere for contributor and writer Camille Griep
Where is home away from home?
These days I live near Seattle, which is a perfect compromise between my past homes – growing up in the wild, wide open of Montana and coming of age during my college years on the eastern edge of LA County. I’m a Gemini, which explains the dichotomy between the two, opposite-seeming spaces.
My favorite home away from home is the Boulder River Valley, where I worked during college summers (and a couple of summers after that, when I was still trying to find my way in the world). It’s the most beautiful place in the universe, to me – the electricity in the air before an afternoon storm, the sound of thunder cracking off the granite mountain faces, unending shush of the river itself. More than that, the family I made there became family for life. I’m home whenever I’m with them.
My second favorite second home is Southern California. There’s an electricity there – like an underground sort of energy that makes me feel more alive, more creative, urgent. It makes me feel younger and limitless. I’m not sure how much of it is wrapped up in nostalgia and how much of it is real, but it doesn’t really matter. When I’m there, I again have family. My best friend from high school in Montana is there and she’s more akin to a sister than a friend. Her family is my family. And in that way, I never feel like a stranger or an intruder.
What makes you homesick?
- Too much time on the road in unfamiliar places
- No introvert time; too much noise
- Seeing other people’s dogs
- Adam’s voice on the phone
- Meadowlarks and magpies
- 'A Sort of Homecoming' by U2.
What smells remind you of being home?
- Strong coffee
- Pine trees
- Light rain
- Ironed sheets – cool but sweetly singed
- Sun- warmed sagebrush
- 'Frito' dog feet.
Camille Griep makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her partner Adam and their two bulldogges, Dutch and Hippo. The editor of Easy Street and senior editor at The Lascaux Review, she also serves as an editor and communications director for Prison Renaissance, a nonprofit fostering mentorship and collaboration between free and incarcerated artists. In addition to the novels Letters to Zell and New Charity Blues, she has published a modest catalogue of short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.