Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A place to write

It’s at this time of the year, when the bare bones of the earth are revealed as everything awaits the arrival of winter, that I look at the back of our yard and imagine something. It will never happen as long as we live where we do because our house and property are small. Every square inch is accounted for and precious. I could no more give up any of it than cut off an arm. In the very back we have our small vegetable patch and next to it grape and clematis vines cover a fence and there’s our peach tree. Underneath that is a covered swing where we can sit and look out over our water garden and the yard beyond towards the house. In summer we live out here. It’s our living room and very enjoyable. How can you give something like that up?

But if we had another ten feet, I would indulge myself in a heartbeat. What do I want?


Or this:

Or maybe even this:

When I started researching this post, I didn’t realize how many other wordsmiths wanted something like a writing shed at the bottom of their gardens, too.

It wouldn’t cost much, especially since I have the skills to build it and I have a couple of sons who would be willing to pitch in where needed.

Believe me, I have this doped out completely. It would be six-and-a-half feet wide and ten feet long. Its only window would look down the yard and right in front of it would be my desk. It wouldn’t have to be fancy. As a matter of fact, a dressed piece of plywood would do. I’d want it to fold down.

My shed would possibly have electricity, but a small wood stove would be my ideal, in which case I’d use candles or lanterns for lighting. For such a small space, though, wood heating might prove to be too much. How small a wood stove can you get, after all? With modern insulation, not much heat would be needed for a shed this size.

I’d like to have a comfy chair where I could read and edit. A small bed for an afternoon siesta wouldn’t be a bad idea. And that would be it.

Since it would need insulation for year-round operation, I’d have to finish the walls, but I think I’d like real wood panelling (the real stuff) rather than drywall. There would be art on the walls (probably landscapes) and a calendar. The final thing would be a modest sound system. I especially favour music when I’m editing, not so much when I’m writing. I tend to start paying more attention to what’s going on than I should, which, oddly, doesn’t happen when I edit.

The outdoor finishes would be a cedar shake roof (canted not peaked) with board and batten siding. (What I’d really prefer would be stone with a thatched roof, but let’s be real here.)

I’ve costed it out, and the whole thing could be built for around a thousand dollars (minus the heating which I haven’t costed). I'd leave the shingles natural and stain the board and batten a nice forest green and maybe plant some vines around it.

Being able to disappear to a place like this, shut the world away, and hang out with my invisible friends would be a wonderful thing indeed.

How about you?


Sybil Johnson said...

That sounds heavenly.

Rick Blechta said...

Yeah, I know -- especially the third one, which was Roald Dahl's hut.


Ronald Tierney said...

I read that G.B. Shaw put his shed on a ind of lazy Susan so he could swivel it depending on the time of day and the light it provided.

God luck!

Rick Blechta said...

Yes, Ronald. I've seen photos of it. He also named it "London", so that his staff could tell callers he'd "gone up to London" and not be telling a lie!

Eileen Goudge said...

I feel I've made it just having an office with a door. When I first started out, my "office" was a corner of the kitchen. Conveniently located near the stove, should the reams of rejection letters ever prove too depressing.

Rick Blechta said...

I've actually escaped out to our car parked in the driveway to escape from incessant interruptions to write!