I’ve been cleaning up my “loft area” with the intent of spending more time there. I call it my “loft area” but it’s really a tiny corner of a back room/shipping area in a very old metal warehouse building that I’ve owned for a long time. Most of the building is rented out, but I keep that one area (the least desirable corner of the building) to store and ship books. Several years ago I built a raised platform out of used lumber so I could sit near the only window to write. The narrow window is near the ceiling, designed to let in light, not because anyone would ever want to savor the view of the parking lot. That platform is my “loft.” I feel comfortable there, but haven’t used it in a long time. It turns out that crappy little spaces built of crude materials by unskilled guys do not improve with years of neglect.
The first order of business was to make a little wooden framework to hold a tarp over the area, because the roof has developed an unpredictable leak. Nothing terrible, but it has ruined pages that I left on the desk over there, which discourages a guy from writing. The weather’s too cold to get someone up on the roof to find it and fix it, I’m not a big fan of getting on roofs, plus I haven’t been able to justify hiring a roofer for such a small problem. A tarp is a good enough solution for right now.
As I may have mentioned, Kenn doing a project like that is pretty much always a Three Stooges movie, only clumsier. Without other stooges to help, I’ve got to poke myself in my own eye, for example, and bang a 2×4 into a random, unsuspecting pile of stuff knocking it to the ground, and lose the tool I was using ten seconds ago all by myself. But the tarp is up, an old guitar has been installed, a notebook and pen are ready for me. The space is eight feet by eight feet, with a big old desk I got in some 1970s era deal taking up most of the space. But it does have a window looking out on an industrial street lined with other old warehouses. For inspiration, I can gaze out at the roof of the Mother Ship (my old motor home).
Once you start doing something like The Tarp Project, you notice how gross the walls are so you start thinking about painting. Then you might consider sweeping the floor, or removing cobwebs, or scraping the grime off the window. That’s a slippery slope that could prevent a guy from ever getting any writing or music practicing done, so you gotta be careful. Luckily, I am nothing if not careful.
I won’t have a computer over there, or internet access. Luckily, I write with a pen so it doesn’t matter. Mark Twain didn’t have Internet access in his writing cabin either, and that worked out fine for him.
OK, after I wrote that sentence I got curious and googled Mark Twain’s cabin. Here’s what he said about it:
“It is the loveliest study you ever saw…octagonal with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window…perched in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills. It is a cozy nest and just room in it for a sofa, table, and three or four chairs, and when the storms sweep down the remote valley and the lighting flashes behind the hills beyond and the rain beats upon the roof over my head—imagine the luxury of it.” – Mark Twain, in a letter to William Dean Howells, 1874
On second thought, maybe I will clean my window after all.