Shedding the illusion

Perhaps I’m odd, but a trip to the shed was never like this for me:

From Shedding Writer’s Block by Noel C. Paul.

The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., offers writers tiny studios in which to work for up to eight weeks. “Writers constantly tell us that the walk to their studio through nature proves invaluable to their creative process,” says resident manager David Macy.

Leaving the house and heading for the studio, some writers say, is no easier than rolling out of bed and hopping into a cold shower. Many, as a result, detest their shed, even as they admit they would cease to function as human beings without it.

. . .

I don’t have a shed, though when I was a boy I did have one. It was filled with tools, old boxes of letters and books from the previous residents on the farm, and dust. Lots of dust. I never went to the shed to accomplish much of anything. I stayed in my room. But Paul cites an interesting possibility:

. . .

Today, individualism and bohemianism largely characterize writers’ social identity. Isolation, in turn, is far more acceptable, if not expected. For many writers pressed with domestic distractions, it is also pragmatic.

“I have a theory that women escape from home to write, while men I know escape from the world by staying home to write,” says novelist Katharine Weber. “I suspect that this is because the dishes and laundry do not call out their name.”

This is quite true; I’m not distracted in the slightest by the mountains of books that need to be shelved, the carpet of laundry in the bedroom, or the dishes that need to be done. These things do not speak to me. If I feel like writing, I just write. I don’t need to go anywhere, especially to a shed. But I can empathize. I had an uncle who had his own “poutin’ house” outside the main house. He was backwoods moonshiner, and went there when his wife had enough of his shit. My mom told me another story about him when I visited on Thanksgiving.

It seems that Bill (my moonshiner uncle) gave her a ton of grief over the fact that she had no tits at age 12. Anyone capable of that sort of behavior does need to be sent to the shed.