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Monday, December 5, 2016

Soon Before Me — The Writer's Shed

The fence on the side of the house is down. The gravel base has been leveled to perfection and framed with 2x4s. The space is angled slightly so the shed's door will face the back of the house and not the garage. And sometime in the next few days, the shed, the real thing, will be lowered on a large forklift-style vehicle and slowly moved over the lawn, beyond the fence opening, and on top of the gravel. It will have been painted—coppery brown with a lime green door to match the house's entrance—and the work on the inside will soon begin, a shaping of space that I hope will give me peace and creative solace.

So how does one do that?

You fill your space with the things you love. The first is a pen drawing of flowers in a vase. It's the work Jen O'Hare, a talented artist, teacher, and the daughter of my lovely Leslie. I will add my son Casey's photo of the wild and remote beauty of the Pacific Northwest will hang on a wall. My son Graham's handmade pen—carved and lathed with his tools—will sit on the my desk, awaiting my words, and the handmade chair he designed in a high school woodworking class will accent the far corner. And of course there will be books. Many. They will be tucked on a shelf, spilled on the floor, piled on the desk. I have my stones, rocks of unusual color and texture collected from the Lake Michigan shore, the Puget Sound, and the Irish Sea. There's energy in the hardened earth, and I find some something special in how it's sealed inside ancient petrified dirt.

Why is this important? Why are we compelled to fill creative spaces with...things?

I think a lot about simplicity. I believe the less we have, the more we have. But I'm not always on point. Books, for instance. I try to stick to the "buy one, give one away" practice. But it doesn't always work. Still, I try hard not to fill my space with tchotchkes or nostalgia. A feng shui expert, Karen Kingston, wrote about this: "When all your available space is filled with clutter, there is no room for anything new to come into your life." As a writer, a creative, one wants new to "come into your life" as often as possible. But, that said, there are some items—old things—that trigger new thought: Casey's photo, Graham's pen and chair, Jen's art.

The shed will need a lot of love before I move my creative life inside. First there's the practical hard work: insulation, painting the framed ceiling, barn wood style walls to nail, flooring to put into place. I must purchase a space heater and move my 1940s replica desk fan inside. Then, there are the books. All those books. And of course, the desk. But I'm ready to begin the work, my mind and body are primed to take it on, and prepared to own this space and the simple energy it will offer.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Bonnie! Almost there! The building inspector has given it a thumbs up. More to come!

  2. Good for you, sir. I hope it serves you well. A writing space is a sacred thing. I now have an office in a new (old) house that looks out over the back yard. Feels like a tree house. I write there as much as I write at my local bar, feeding off the energy of the drinkers around me. Cheers.

    1. I'm truly excited. Building inspector just OKed all in the inside work begins soon. Just bought insulation. More updates to come! Thanks for your encouragement.