In need of a creative space
by Rick Watson
Jan 16, 2011 | 1416 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
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I’ve finally realized that having free time in retirement is a myth. I’m busier now than I’ve ever been in my life and important things are being left undone — things I promised myself I’d do when I retired.

Life seems to be coming at me faster now than at any other time in the past. Part of the problem is that I’m so “connected.” I have a desktop computer, a laptop and a smartphone, which means I can check my email anytime day or night just by touching a few buttons. I get up to the second news with pictures, sound and video. I get the scoop on friends and family by clicking on Facebook.

In an effort to reverse this trend, Jilda and I made a pact at the first of the year to find a “creative space.” A place free of distractions with no phone, no Internet connection, and a place that is far enough off the beaten path that someone would have to go out of their way to pop in on us.

A cabin on the river or off in the woods would be nice but that would mean going back into debt, which is a path we decided not to take.

The ideal space has been sitting a few hundred feet away ever since we’ve lived here on the farm. It’s the old house that sits down by the barn. For years its only function was to store stuff that we “might need later.”

As a result the old house is stacked from floor to ceiling with junk that you couldn’t give away at a yard sale.

I think the first order of business is to rent a dumpster and be brutal — toss everything that can’t be used NOW.

The old house has power but no phone nor cable. It needs some work, but I’ve talked to my carpenter and he’s ready and willing to put things in order.

Part of the charm of the old house is that it sits beneath 100-year-old oak trees. It feels 10 degrees cooler down there, even when the August sun is as hot as a grill.

All the rooms have large windows and the diffused light filtering through the trees makes the world look softer, like an old photograph.

I’m on the lookout for a writer’s table and comfortable chair. I’ll be building bookshelves, replacing windows and a few other things to spruce the place up a bit, but we’ll leave it rustic and authentic.

The house is big enough that we’re making Jilda a creative space too. She’s a remarkable painter, jewelry maker, writer, cook, and the list goes on. Her current creative space is a cramped desk in the laundry room. You have to move stuff around for her to sit down in her space, and it’s hard for her to hear herself think over the sound of a clanking clothes dryer.

Our carpenter is coming as soon as the snow thaws to begin work. Jilda and I are both excited to finally have our creative space. The old house is peaceful and it just seems right to finally have a creative place without noise.