I’m interested in everything about writers and writing, and like a lot of writers, enjoy seeing pictures of other writer’s spaces, from George Bernard Shaw’s rotating garden hut, to Kipling’s Edwardian man cave, to Mark Twain’s breezy gazebo and cozy billiards room.
I have often wondered what it would be like to have such a distinctive space in which to work.
I no longer wonder, thanks to the unexpected remodeling help of Hurricane Irma.
When the evacuation order was given I was already out of town. My family wasn’t, and had to prep and leave in relative haste. The cats didn’t enjoy the hours-long car ride but everyone made it out safely.
Getting back in was another story.
We were kept from returning for many days after the storm. This was absolutely the right thing to do for safety but it also meant that properties were left open to the elements and essential cleanup delayed.
It was unseasonably hot, and rain-soaked sheetrock had days to dry and bake onto whatever lay underneath. Everything perishable perished, and rotted in place before being hauled to the curb, a curb I could now see and smell, not only through the window, but by sighting and scenting along the rafters.
We were very lucky; our home was still standing. There were entire neighborhoods leveled, and families that returned to find a vacant lot where their home once stood. There are many businesses that haven’t yet re-opened, in part because of storm damage, but largely because their employees have moved to the mainland, found new jobs, and won’t be coming back.
Faced with major repairs, I had to make a decision. I didn’t feel that I could write, run a business, interact with others in person and on line, and deal with a major reconstruction project simultaneously.
Something had to give, and it did.
If you weren’t buying a story, fastening on a tool belt, or brandishing a roofing nailer I probably haven’t spoken to or written you in over a year. And if, in that time, you came here expecting news you left disappointed.
We’re nearly back to normal now. Concrete spalling repairs remain to be done. Landscaping as well, along with a few smaller projects that are important but not urgent.
Over the next few weeks I’ll fill you in. There are a couple stories published in anthologies that I haven’t mentioned yet, upcoming opportunities for us to meet up in person in the US and Ireland, and more.