Monday, July 28, 2008

Sue Guiney's Writing Shack

Sue Guiney happily splits her time between London and Martha’s Vineyard: her poetry play, Dreams of May, was premiered in London’s Pentameters Theatre and her first novel, Tangled Roots, was published in May by bluechrome. She blogs and she is also a shedworker. Sue very kindly agreed to write about her shedworking atmosphere in Martha's Vineyard.
About seven years ago, my husband and I built a house in a wooded clearing on Martha’s Vineyard where we have been spending summers for decades. It is our dream house, and surrounding it after years of work and planning (and help!) are our dream gardens. That parenthetical help comes from a terrific group of gardeners, all of whom are, for some reason, young, tan, blonde, beautiful women. A few years back, the chief beautiful woman looked at my husband with her gorgeous green eyes and said, “It would be great if we could have a garden shed.” Immediately, he set to work. But when I heard about his plans, I had the only possible reaction, namely to say “What am I? Mashed potatoes?

The shed was due to be a 10-‘x10’ one room building, with a sloped roof that matches the house, and two front windows. But instead there is now a huge difference. We dropped a wall down the middle of the single room, creating two equal 5’x10’ spaces – one for them, one for me.

This is my “Writing Shack” – the most simple, easy, basic space possible, and I love it. Against one wall is a built-in desk (actually, a tabletop without drawers). On another wall is a bookshelf (although any books I leave in there become mildewy and gross). There is electricity and a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. I like to think of it as simple and elegant.

But I have filled it with rocks and shells and pieces of driftwood from the local beaches. A bud vase, a model of a reclining Buddha, a desk chair, a small rocker with a fish-shaped foot stool, and a side table. On the wall are two paintings by a local artist called Kara Taylor, each of which has reminded me of the novel I have written/am writing in this very space.Summer is a very busy time for us here. There are often dinners for twelve, guests coming and going, dogs barking, children slamming doors, cars pulling up and driving away. But when I go into my “shack” I am transported to wherever I need to be, happily alone in my head, full of words and, if I’m lucky, the occasional line of poetry.


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  1. Beautiful, looks very relaxing.

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