“My Happy Place”
I’m in my happy place, T.U.P., my writing loft above our green garage, a space we created for just this purpose, to allow my imagination free rein.
The loft is accessed via a wooden staircase with a trap door at the top. Clever man that he is, Stephen Roe solved the problem of how to get up into the room easily by attaching a weight to a rope, creating a pulley system for lifting and closing this door.
The room is the length of the garage, but narrower, with angles along each side where the roof slants. After a bit of a battle with the City Planners, Master Builder Greg added a tiny, tiny balcony where I can sit, alone or with a friend, enjoy a cup of coffee, and survey the neighborhood at treetop level. At times the cardinals in the maple tree and I are at eye-level.
My writing studio loft is filled with garage sale findings that I love: a sturdy futon (only one leg is held together with duct tape), a small wooden desk, a 1950s era drop-leaf kitchen table, a nest of drawers from an old rolltop desk, a wooden bureau to store collage making materials, and an Amish rocker. Two desk chairs, a homemade wooden chest, a handmade cedar chest from Aunt Lois, a wooden file cabinet, and a striped, Jacob’s-coat-of-many-colors carpet remnant.
Friends Joan and Melissa helped paint the wood walls white, which lightens the room, and the cross beams in a rainbow of colors for spunk. Collages and drawing by my granddaughters, great nieces and me cover the walls.
This is a place to create, to think, to read. Children, family and friends are all welcome to bring their own creative projects and work beside or with me. (At the moment my ten-year-old granddaughter Onnee is working on her own novel, singing and creating!)
Years ago I read A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. That idea of a place just for me was thrilling. But it wasn’t until Joan Drury, a well-known Minnesota writer, opened “Norcroft Writers’ Retreat for Women” along the North Shore of Lake Superior, not far from Lutsen, MN, that I was fortunate enough to experience this. Norcroft was Joan Drury’s family lodge which she opened to women for whom writing time and finances were hard to find. I was given a three-week stay.
At Norcroft each resident had her own bedroom. We shared a communal kitchen and dining room, and, best of all, each woman had her own writing studio, a small shed about 8’ x 8’, built in the woods. This was my first experience of having my very own, private place in which I could write and write and write. Each shed was furnished with a pine desk surface, a chair, a lamp, two small book shelves, a comfy rocker, and a window that looked out on the lake. You could lock the door if you wished. “Do Not Disturb” was a given. My life as a teacher, mother, wife, auntie and daughter had never allowed for such luxury.
I am eternally grateful to Joan Drury for her generosity and faith in and support of women writers.
Today, the moment I lift the blue trap door and poke my head up into the space, my heart lifts and my smile grows. I’m carrying my laptop computer and notebooks, a mug of water, and my knitting bag for this afternoon when friend Joan joins me for our weekly get-together. The space heater is working, but it’s such a glorious fall day, we probably won’t need it. I also have some dust cloths (noticed a huge cobweb across the skylight yesterday!)
Later, when Joan has to leave, I’ll remain here and continue working. Today I’m researching publishers who do not require an agent to submit your manuscript. (Book two’s working title: THE KEY OF IDELISIA: THE POWER AWAKENS). If time, I’ll continue revising the email list for promoting Book Two. And I just remembered I need to check for character consistency in a middle chapter. One of my beta readers pointed out a possible problem when he read the second draft.
Or, I might just take a tiny little nap and dream about characters and their next adventures!