Monday, January 17, 2011

Creative Space

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 hundred year old oak trees.   It feels ten 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.


  1. Sounds like you guys have been sitting on paradise without realizing it. What a great sounding place. I'd do it the exact same way. No interruptions when you want peace and quiet.

  2. How lucky are you Rick! A little bit of heaven...right in your own backyard. Please tell me you are going to post the reno!

  3. Thanks for following my blog. I hope you'll have air conditioning in your creative spaces in that old house. Even if it is cooler there, August gets plenty hot and humid. It sounds like a wonderful place to let your imaginations take over.

  4. It sounds perfect! I'm sure you will enjoy it.

  5. Wow!! How ideal and idyllic!! Wonderful!!!! I'm all for chucking out external and extraneous modern noises but I know in my heart I'd be missing my pc and network connections! LOL!!!!

    Good luck de-cluttering - that's so free-ing!!!! Take care

  6. Oh, that sounds divine! I wish I was there to help you clear out the stuff. Sounds like just my kind of project!!

    I am so excited for you both to have a special place. I am afraid I would end up spending the majority of my time there and not tending to other things.

    Now, I have a question; how do you add the little "other posts you might like" widget at the bottom of your posts. I have seen it on several blogs but cannot figure out how to add it to mine. I would be so appreciative if you had a moment to share that with me. :)

  7. That sounds like an awesome place to disconnect from the world and reconnect with your creativity. =o)

  8. I'm really excited about the creative space.
    The carpenter was supposed to come up this morning to get all the specifics and order the materials, but the rain forced a reschedule.
    If it stops raining this evening, he is supposed to come. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  9. Ornery's Wife, the way you get the gadget at the bottom of the post is as follows:
    Hey Tracy,
    Go to this webpage and get the code

    Then go to the DESIGN tab on your blog
    Click add a gadget
    Add HTML/JavaScript
    Then PASTE the code you got from the link above into the window of the HTML/JavaScript.
    Put the GADGET at the bottom of your blog post window (not to the side but underneath)
    Preview and if it looks right, save it and your through.

  10. sounds like a dream. How did it go unused for so long?

  11. Ooohh! I'm so jealous! It sounds like a slice of heaven, Rick! Good luck with the renovations and please share pictures.

  12. That sounds wonderful. You'll really be able to get away from it all, but stay connected with each other.

    I imagine you'll be able to get a lot of music written there.

    My idea of a "creative space" is standing at my breakfast bar with my laptop, so the 25lb cat can't jump on it/me.

  13. It sounds like you’ve come up with a wonderful solution. I hope the renovations go smoothly.

  14. I’m jealous… it sounds amazing. I hope it turns out to be what you wanted.

  15. Thanks all, we are really excited.
    Carol, it does get really hot here in Alabama too. I think we'll install an attic fan at first to see if it will keep it cool enough to function. We'll adjust our schedule to work more in the morning hours before the heat of the day.
    We'll see about the climate control as it gets warmer.

  16. It sounds just idylic!! I would love the space you are making for Jilda! I love all the creative things she does too...painting, jewelry making etc. How great that you have THE perfect spot right in your own backyard!!! Can't wait to see all the progress...hope you post pictures! Thanks for following my blog!!

  17. Oh my goodness, that sounds amazing. You are so lucky! I would be in heaven sitting in an old building under oak trees. Your idea sounds perfect.

    Oh, and some of our best friends are retired, and they've never been busier. I think it's great that you're busy. It keeps you young!


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