RHYS BOWEN :
I've decided there are certain things I need in the place where I live. I don't do well in cities with noise. I need to be close to nature. I need sunshine. I need beauty. I need hills. It's part of my Welsh heritage, I suppose, that there has to be a nearby mountain. I can remember the first time I saw a mountain. My Aunt Gwladys took me to relatives in Wales. We arrived at night. In the morning I opened the curtains and there was a mountain outside my window. I was only about seven at the time but I remember feeling "This is it. This is what things should look like."
We spent three years in Texas, flat as a pancake. Every day I'd drive down the freeway trying to invent hills on the horizon in my head.
So I think I've made the right choice about where to live. It's not perfect, of course. The traffic has become horrible. There are gangs and shootings in the Bay Area. And I do get the occasional fantasy about buying a cottage in England and walking to the village with my basket over my arm to buy the eggs. But then I remember that it rains in UK and I escape to Arizona to have sunshine year round. And I read the English newspapers and see that life is no longer idyllic there.
So I think I'm pretty fortunate to have lived in a place that feels right for most of my life. I lived in Sydney once with its lovely harbor--oh, and I really appreciate water nearby which is one of the reasons I couldn't live in Arizona all year. But I love my stark mountains and cactus in the winter. And in both cases having a big city within reach for concerts, art galleries etc.
So how about you--why did you choose where you live? Would you live somewhere else if you could?
LUCY BURDETTE: For me it's salt water. My mother was an utter nut about the ocean and it rubbed off! I can remember deciding to move to Boulder when I was just out of college. I was so excited to get away from New Jersey. But the mountains closed in around me as we drove into town and I panicked. Felt so claustrophobic that I simply kept driving until I reached the other coast...
I did enjoy four years in Knoxville, TN, but my preference is to be closer to the coast.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Someone asked me just the other day at a book event why I live where I live. Good question. We do have a few slightly rolling hills here north of Dallas, Rhys! I grew up here, not in the town where I live now, but close enough that it is all home territory for me, and there must be some part of me that needs that grounding. I have had fantasies of just pulling up stakes and going somewhere completely different, but... I have family here--my mother, still, and my daughter. We love our old house, and our town (listed as one of most desirable places to live in the US, actually.) And I don't think Rick and I could ever agree on a different place. He likes big mountains--Colorado, the Rockies, which don't appeal to me at all. I love the ocean. I love green, soft rolling hills, lots of big trees. And I LOVE cities. In an ideal world I would probably choose a cottage somewhere in southern England, and a flat in London. Dream on...
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I'll join you in the Suffolk cottage and the flat in London, Deb! I love where we live - a very rural area just a half hour from Maine's largest city - but I've loved everywhere I've lived. I think growing up in the military and moving so frequently in my childhood and youth gave me a different perspective on "home." My mother always said there's something to like in anyplace you go, and her philosophy has shaped how I approach my habitats. Ross and I have been in southern Maine for almost twenty-five years now (!!!)and I love the ocean and the mountains, but if we had to pull up stakes and move to, say, the flatlands of Illinois, I'd look forward to seeing what was exciting and different about the new place.
JAN BROGAN - This question is especially relevant for me because we put our house on the market with the idea of moving out of the suburbs and into the city. We loved a few condos we saw, but when we came home and looked out into our beautiful yard with the granite ledge and everything in bloom, we looked at each other and said: Can we really move? We're not entirely sure.
HALLIE EPHRON: I grew up in LA, but when I went to NYC for college I found the east coast much more to my liking. (Nowadays, visiting LA makes me feel old, fat, and poor.)
We live just outside Boston, walking distance to the subway. It's the perfect combination of quiet suburban (LOVE my backyard -- it calms me to sit there and watch the grass grow; I also love it that I can throw a big party and everyone can park easily on the street) and quick access to the city.
Havin' my cake...
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I grew up in flat flat flat Indiana...moved in my twenties to fabulous glorious Washington DC--loved. Power, insiders, center of the universe, it felt like. Moved to beautiful Atlanta--and it was terrific, but a much slower pace. Now after 30 years in Boston--I can't imagine living anywhere else. (South of France etc, and such, aside..) Even after all this time, I see the ocean, and think--whoa. We don't have this in Indiana.
But yeah, our 100 year old house is just outside of the city--takes us 14 minutes to get into town. Now our gardens are FILLED with tulips and the ducks are back
So let's hear from YOU. Do you live where you do because you have to for work? Or is it the place of your choosing?