In a way, nearly every story is a search for home. A protagonist is forced out of a humdrum, lost existence onto a journey where she must grow and change, seek out great mentors, encounter obstacles, and arrive at that point of contentment, or at the very least, transcendence that comes after the greatest battle of all.
But for many of us, this search for home takes on a physical shape. It resides in how we occupy spaces in the world, in the story we tell ourselves about our lives through our physical homes, whether they be in a city apartment, country farmhouse, filigreed Victorian, or classic Craftsman.
Make no mistake.
This is no frivolous undertaking.
The history of Oregon has always been about how humans connect to the landscape, envision a life here and then build it.
The search for home is an idea deeply engrained in life here, and that search is something we recognize for what it is: For many of us, creating a home life is nothing less than the greatest work of art we will ever produce.
As a lover of classic first-person form, I want to hear these stories from the people who experience them, which is why, as the editor of Oregon Home, I am introducing a classic back-page essay column called “Hearth.”
Think about it this way. Turn off the TV and you’ll remember what the hearth is: The place where we gather to tell the stories that create the meaning in our lives.
I will be answering questions you may have here about this new part of the magazine in the comments. Our first “Hearth” essay, a piece on an obsession with antique lighting by novelist Heather Sharfeddin, will appear in our spring 2018 issue, appearing in early March. I will post more of what I pick here to give you all a better idea of the space as it emerges.
Thank you for reading, and writing!
What I’m looking for:
Length: 750-850 words, payment is $.50/word
Tone: Authentic, personal, funny/sad, thoughtful
Style: Voice-driven, first-person, short memoir or essay
Topics: Prescient but timeless. As in, these essays have a contemporary feel and might mention ideas or trends that are interesting to homeowners now, but they retain a timeless connection to that yearning for home. They feature physical homes as opposed to cities, landscapes or regions.
Writers: Who live in Oregon.
What I’m not looking for:
– Stories where nothing is gained or lost or learned
– Stories where homeowners take on something gross (we want readers to turn to this page first!)
– Stories that feel too general, something everybody everywhere has experienced.
– Stories about “This is how I ended up in Oregon.”
– Previously published stories
– Essay pitches. These just don’t work. With essays, you have to read the full thing before you have any idea whether it fits.
– Writing by writers that don’t live in Oregon (sorry!).
How to contact me:
The best way to reach me is by writing firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to every email. If you do not hear back within a week, please ping me again to remind me. Thank you for sending your work my way!
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