Friday, February 24, 2023

AA Milne: shedworker

One of the most popular children's books in the last 100 years was written in a shedlike atmosphere. In his autobiography What Luck!, AA Milne discusses how When We Were Very Young was written during a wet holiday in North Wales in 1923 with another family and various other invitees:

"It rained continuously... In a week I was screaming with agoraphobia. Somehow I must escape. I pleaded urgent inspiration, took a pencil and an exercise book, and escaped to the summerhouse. It contained a chair and a table. I sat down on the chair, put my exercise book on the table, and gazed ecstatically at a wall of mist which might have been hiding Snowdon or the Serpentine for all I could see or cared."

Milne says he had a "fixed determination not to leave the heavenly solitude of that summerhouse until it stopped raining" during which time he focused on writing poems which had been commissioned by a friend for a magazine back in London.

"I had eleven wet days in that summerhouse and wrote eleven sets of verses," he wrote, and then they returned to London, he kept on writing, and by the end of the year he'd produced enough for the book. Sadly, the Shedworking interns have been unable to track down an image of the summerhouse.


Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

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