“We shape our buildings: Thereafter, they shape us.”
~ Winston Churchill
The rise of the She Shed…
The rise of the #SheShed is no surprise to me! Mothers who have typically sacrificed either their time, money, career, space, privacy, sanity – or even all of these, are now claiming back some much needed space for their own projects.
Like other women, I have reached a point in my life where I feel justified in being a little bit selfish. It’s hard to feel good about being selfish, because I’m used to putting my children’s needs first. I love them unconditionally, but selfishness is a necessity that enables me to continue giving most of my energy, (and pretty much everything I have) to my family.
In my case, selfishness comes in the form of a dedicated garden office to write, study and hold meetings in.
Except, oh, wait a minute – my son beat me to it!!!
My perfect offspring, who walks around with a bright halo gleaming above his head most of the time, suddenly threw me the biggest curve-ball of his life two weeks ago.
I had not long sorted out an ongoing situation and emergency for my eldest son in New Zealand, and then the builders had a quiet week, so our bathroom and water damaged ceiling were ripped out and our home resembled a building site.
I had been busy organising new furniture and moving my files, books and stationary across to the garden, looking forward to the peace and tranquillity it would afford; when he chose his moment to strike.
It is just as well the cabin was built, or I would be even more stressed than I am right now. For reasons which I won’t go into, I will have to wait until the summer to move in full-time.
On the plus side it also means my daughter has her birthday/early Christmas present – a new piano to practice on when she comes home from school. She is preparing for her ABRSM Grade 1 exam.
Project She Shed began in the summer, with clearing the overgrown area at the bottom of our garden. I am grateful that we do have a relatively long, flat garden in the first place, otherwise a She Shed wouldn’t have been an option.
Once the land was cleared by my step father and step brother the builders created a base and built the structure (which was delivered mostly in planks of varying sizes and thicknesses, except for the windows and roof panels), like giant Ikea furniture.
I opted for extra insulation knowing that I’m prone to feeling the cold, and I’m glad I did now. My next novel definitely won’t get written with icicles hanging off my nose and my teeth chattering. My dad supplied two heaters which will keep out the chill this winter.
I spent many hours in the late summer and early autumn coating the cabin with protective undercoat and paint.
A local electrician updated the main electrics board of our 1930 built house and wired a Cat5 cable down the garden – then I had power and broadband. He even fixed motion sensor lights outside should inspiration strike in the middle of the night. But, I fully admit that’s unlikely to occur in the middle of winter!
The oak wood floor was laid and my anticipation grew…
I had visions of meditating, journaling, planning, reading, writing and placing mind-maps around the walls, spreading out scene cards and getting stuck into my next novel.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~ Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Even the cats were keen to join me and test out my plush new seating arrangements with their muddy paws.
However, in the tradition of being stoical, I have deferred to my family once again. I just hope there are no more curve-balls waiting to knock me sideways before Christmas.
The festive season gets pretty crazy chez Burges.
I don’t mean to come across as whingeing when there are so many people suffering in the world. I am learning to embrace challenges and be thankful for my many blessings. My mother admonishes me whenever she senses a whiff of a moan, pointing out that there are plenty of people worse off.
And she is right.
A close relative is battling an extremely aggressive form of cancer and we thought we might lose her a few months ago.
Thanks to a stent she has been able to go home – hospital was not helping her – the machine she was hooked up to bleeped incessantly and so she rarely slept. To our horror she appeared to be wasting away over the weeks she was confined to a hospital bed.
But with the help of her iron will, nutritionally therapeutic supplements, a loving, supportive family and ongoing care, she is getting stronger and showing us all what grace under pressure looks like.
We are grateful and overjoyed to have her with us still, and hopefully for Christmas.
Despite life’s challenges, if we have our health, that, in my opinion, will always be the greatest wealth.
I love and appreciate my family for everything they have done to make this project happen. I feel what’s needed at this point is a hefty dose of patience rather than increased productivity.
I visited Dylan Thomas’s writing shed a couple of years ago whilst on a trip to Laugharne with my family, and it has the most stunning view out over the estuary. I think I would just sit and stare out the window all day…
I am fortunate to have my new She Shed sanctuary, (the place where my creativity will be unleashed and future novels will be written) waiting for me, one day…
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka