Sunday, October 19, 2014
Alison McGhee is the October Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob's Blog and she has written a guest post on her "Tiny House" in Vermont where she writes and uses her time to get creative. This is really interesting to me as I have never heard of the Tiny House movement. Super cool!
I'm writing this guest blog from the kitchen of a Tiny House in Vermont, where I live part-time. "Tiny House" is in caps because living in micro-houses has become something of a movement these days, wherein a conscious decision is made to (mightily) pare down one's belongings and move into a 100-500 square foot house, sometimes on wheels, sometimes not.
I'm not really a Tiny Houser, because I still have a regular-sized house in Minneapolis. But this tiny house on a hill in Vermont is one that friends and I have built over many years, little by little. The original, 200 square foot cabin (one room with a sleeping loft) was a kit I bought off eBay and lived in (no plumbing, an outhouse) until just recently, when we milled some trees from the land and doubled the size. Now there's a sink and a shower and a camping toilet, and we're done.
What does this tiny house have to do with writing? For me, a whole lot. Since I was a child, writing has been a way to translate the experience of living into art, or, if not art, something that transcends the actual experience of living.
There is so much suffering in the world. And there is also so much wonder and wildness and curiosity. When I was little I felt as if I couldn't hold all that emotion inside - I had to turn it into something outside of myself as a way of both absorbing and filtering life. I still feel that way. Maybe
most artists do, whatever the form they choose for their art.
So, back to the tiny house. A small space with fewer things means fewer hours spent cleaning and maintaining and earning the money to support that space and those things and more time to experience life and the translation of it into art. This isn't a new idea --hello, monks and nuns and zen seekers-- but in mid-life, which is where I am, there is nothing more precious than time.
My friend Julie said once that "writing is my only church." Yes.
If you would like to win a copy of Alison McGhee's new book Star Bright, A Christmas Story, please click here: Star Bright Giveaway