Places to write become places to live. I like it that way. Even in a big house, I’ll end up in one room, in one corner with a comfortable chair, a small table, a light to turn up or down. A few old and much-loved tchotchkes here and there. A window is nice.
I like looking at tiny houses. Converted sheds in the back yard draw me in. Little outbuildings turned into offices with a single bed or comfy couch in case of company. Or in case the occupant needs a nap. That’s just about perfect.
It’s clear this is now a lifelong pattern. Whatever the size of the place, I live mostly in one room. When I’m tired of it, I go into another room. That’s two rooms so far.
The concept of small spaces seems normal for a writer. Less distractions. It’s cozy enough to be filled with thoughts, or in the absence of them, it’ll contain the angst.
I love old lamps and old lampshades. Some of us don’t start out as collectors by intention, but the numbers keep growing and I look around and I dohave a bunch of lamps.
For my friend, Pam, it was an unintentional sofa collection. She had plenty of room in a big flat in Boston’s Back Bay. From there she moved to a Maine farmhouse, and pared down her sofas, but last time I visited, I noticed a lot of chairs.
I recently emerged from a small-table phase. I gave some away and sold some and I don’t miss the tables that left, but I’m unable to say goodbye to lamps.
Old lamps work fine, as long as you know someone who can rewire them. My friend, Itsie, in Mill Valley, at nearly 90 years old had a full workshop on one level of his hillside home and he kept all my treasures in working order.
Itsie re-wired this one
After he passed, one of my favorite old lamps flickered and died. Todd to the rescue. Todd’s a prolific music producer who also knows his way around tools. He sent me to Home Depot in Woodland Hills with a piece of paper specifying what part he needed.
Back in Northern California, I plugged it in and it glows. Todd, you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into, being good at stuff like fixing old lamps.
This is a close-up of the one Todd re-wired. She is obviously a lady who doesn’t mind showing her age.