Friday, December 26, 2008

resolution: writing space and time

I intend to do more writing in 2009, and it's important to figure out when and where my best times and spaces are for that. I decided I need Rudyard Kipling's study after seeing it in a slideshow of authors' writing spaces at the online Architectural Digest, December 2008 issue. Is that too much to ask?

Ok, I could settle for Dylan Thomas' water and tree room on the cliff or what it reminds me of: l'atelier: rustic and sort of like a playhouse.-

Rudyard Kipling's study:

The Nobel Prize-winning writer Rudyard Kipling’s study at Bateman’s, in England, where he moved in 1902. The surrounding Sussex countryside would become the backdrop for later works, including Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies.

This copy of Puck has illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

from Puck's Song (read Kipling's whole poem here)

Trackway and Camp and City lost,

Salt Marsh where now is corn;

Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,

And so was England born!

She is not any common Earth,

Water or wood or air,

But Merlin's Isle of Gramarye,

Where you and I will fare.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ :

Dylan Thomas' water and tree room on the cliff:

“A fresh beginning,” poet Dylan Thomas said of moving to the Boat House in the coastal village of Laugharne, in South Wales. Above: Thomas’s writing shed—his “water and tree room on the cliff”—displays pictures of D.H. Lawrence and Walt Whitman.

from Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,

The night above the dingle starry, . . .

. . . (finish Thomas' poem recollecting his childhood on a farm here; if you've never read "Fern Hill" please take a few minutes to read it for its lyricism alone, it is so beautiful, one of my faves, very "dingle starry"!)

Both "Puck" and "Fern Hill" are about country life in childhood, reflecting on farm life nostalgically. I think there is a little farm in all of us, and lucky me, I am spending my second childhood on one.

l'atelier, our studio that Don and Peter converted from a chicken coop - before we had chickens. To answer Shicat, this building is still a studio. Don rejuvenated another coop in the big green barn for his brood.


shicat said...

Ruth, you Do need a special writing place. Kiplings study is grand while Dylans is quaint. I think you could do a kiplinish study for winter and Dylanish study for summer? Is the chicken coop studio still available or are goober and goomer residing there now? I'm going to look at that Architecural Digest online I really enjoy looking at studios. Then I'm going to look at Gwens post about studios again. Oh,I just remembered a book I have,Artists Houses, it's the perfect rainy sleety day to look at that,and paint of course.Love being home.

Loring Wirbel said...

Note that Kipling's study is a playground for the imperial mind. The proper polished furniture and nice colonial globes helps Kipling justify sending out the glorious chaps in jodhpurs to calm down those froggy Hindu excitable boys. Thomas's office is a glorious mess, the sign of someone who sucks in chaotic elements like a black hole at its event horizon. This is my excuse for not cleaning my office in 2009 - every piece of trash is a blow against the empire.

photowannabe said...

I thought i would have a room for my computer, crafts etc. when we moved to this house. Well we do, sort of...Hubby took over the computer room and the guest room is on the darkside of the where do I work? At the diningroom table with my laptop. i always get sidetracked by the hummingbird and flowers out the window.
Everybody needs their own special laughing place.
Your farm looks just about perfect. The studis you show are pretty fab. but the chicken coop place you have will be perfect for your writing.

Sandy said...

I love that studio!!! I do hope you can find time to write. Enjoyed the post!! Hope you had a great day yesterday. I'm so glad a new year is starting and maybe I'll keep a few resolutions.

Ruth said...

Cathy, are you going to renovate a room for a studio? We could probably fit our whole house into Kipling's study.

I know, being home for a nice long winter break means re-looking at the lovelies we forgot about.

Ruth said...

Loring, quite a good argument I'd say. Keep the mess. It's whatever works. If I have too much chaos, it stifles me. But not enough and that is also a strait jacket.

Ruth said...

Sue, good description - laughing place! A place to expand and breathe. Something that provides mental space, whether it's as grand as Kipling's or not. It's the space in the mind that matters.

Ruth said...

Auntie Sandy, I wonder which one you love! We had a warm happy day yesterday, thank you. I hope you did too. New years are nice for reflection, just looking, even if nothing changes.

Anet said...

Hmmm... I think Thomas’s writing shed and your l'atelier look very similar. I will be excited to read some of your works Ruth. I hope you'll share with us.

I like your wood sculpture. I remember my father giving me a red center piece of a tree... He told me it was the heart and soul of the tree. I remember how wonderful it smelled:)

Charley Pitchford said...

Which template do you use on your blog?

Ruth said...

Hi Anet. I don't know what this intention means yet. Thank you for your interest. No doubt you'll hear about whatever it becomes.

A red center piece, hmmm, redwood, cedar? Was your dad Ojibwa? I don't remember what part of your family is indigenous, and now you talking about your dad makes me wonder.

Ruth said...

Charley, I am using Minima Stretch. I also enlarge my photographs. You can email me at if you want to know how to do that.

Susan said...

I don't know about writing, but I would love to cook in David Mamet's kitchen!

I think that wherever you write, Ruth, your words will be inspiring.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Susan. You are such a great support.

Yes, Mamet's kitchen is brilliant, a cutting board table that never ends!

Anet said...

Ruth, My dad was full blooded Sicilian. My mom side is French Canadian. That did sound like an Ojibwa thing to say though!
It's my husband and children who are Ojibwa. I've always had native people in my life... my step-grandmother Rosie, two of my best friends in school and then my husband and now my children. Something draws me to them :)
Yes, it was a piece of Cedar.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Anet! I was sure you'd told us before, but I couldn't remember. I think you must be Ojibwa in your heart.

Ginnie said...

When I saw Dylan's writing shed, I could have sworn it was your atelier, Ruth! Is that uncanny or what. Everyone needs a "holy space" for reading, writing, musing, creating or whatever. I have mine and I will miss it when we move. But I'll find a new one....

carl h. sr. said...

Hi Ruth,I really like that piece of 'raw' wood on the shelf.
And the rough sawn wood that the shelf is fashioned from.
You and Don are a real inspiration.
It is such a good thing to see folks 'living the dream'.
Beautiful family there.
I hope neither you nor Don take offense,but coming from an old fella in my 24th year of marriage,
even if I wasn't full of Kentucky Bourbon right now,I would still have to say that you are a real beauty.
With you and Don living on the farm and both being teachers,I can think of no higher compliment than to just say"keep up the good work".

rauf said...

kipling is too neat, too studious, too classy and toooo snobbish for me, He just wants to impress the visitor. i doubt he is living there. He's dead alright, i mean in his lifetime. i don't like snobs Ruth. Big pain. .

Dylan is fine. signs of life there.

Ruth said...

Boots, I love wood, painted or not. Actually I seem to be able to write almost anywhere with my laptop. I just need quiet.

I am sure you will find your special space again, sweetie.

Ruth said...

Carl, I think you and my dad, another Carl, were soul brothers. I told you how he loved wood too. When we lived briefly at another farm lots of years ago we caught him on film admiring the wide barn planks, at least 100 years old. I get a lot of visual pleasure from the crooked shelves and construction in these old buildings. But I think you know how to saw a straight board and nail a plumb shelf.

Congratulations on winning Don's horseshoe! We were both tickled to death that you were the winner. We couldn't think of anyone who would appreciate it more and we're sure you'll find just the right spot in your special shed.

Ruth said...

rauf, it is so interesting to me that you and Loring immediately saw "empire" in that room. I am not as well read as you and Loring, but I grew up with a few phrases of Kipling in my head. As I see the room now through your eyes, I appreciate and understand your response. I believe he was controversial in terms of empire, yet incredibly talented without dispute. We have had this discussion before, about whether an artist's personal life influences us as readers of their work (or listeners to their music).

I respect your viewpoint, especially coming from India. I hope I did not offend you by posting what to me is an incredibly beautiful room. Yet as beautiful as I find it, I would be afraid of touching it.

Lesley played Shere Khan in The Jungle Book in elementary school, I made her tiger costume.

freefalling said...

Great post!
And I really loved the link to AD.
My favourite - Anton Chekov('s).

Ruth said...

Letty, I know! The ceiling is ginormous!

jiva said...

I'm planning to move to Cheyenne and want to have a study like Kipling's.
Do you think my computer is going to
look strange on that table? ha ha
Just kidding. Love the book shelves.
It's a real inspiration all right.
Happy 2009 Ruth. Love your blog.

Ruth said...

Happy 2009 to you too, Jiva! Haha, that's funny to picture.

There might be some elements there you can adopt. Lots of wood, lots of books. Those are pretty easily accomplished.