Berry and the Nashville Agrarians (we’re calling my cabin the Lytle Cabin in honor of Andrew Lytle, one of the Nashville Agrarians and my parents’ teacher at Sewanee). In particular, Berry’s address to the NEH last year really hit me hard at a time when I was very conscious of being subject to a job market that placed no particular emphasis on place or the importance of “affection,” to use Berry’s term. The second thing that helped me look at my career from a different angle was the Lilly Fellows Postdoctoral Program at Valparaiso University, where I was fortunate enough to spend two years learning to teach and thinking about my academic vocation in terms of a Christian calling (I’m working at a college in the Mennonite tradition). In the end, I think I could have put my ideas about place into practice nearly anywhere, but I feel very fortunate to be where I am.
regard, sometimes I’m going to need to get away from that. So I felt like I needed a separate place where I could work on the days I’m at home and in the evenings. Plus, my wife was happy to have all my books out of the house! I also felt that if I created the space I’d feel more obligated to use it, particularly for writing. Part of the rationale about living near family is that we’ll be able to spend more time during holidays and the summer at home, and hopefully I’ll be able to use those extra weeks to write. It worked out perfectly because there was an existing structure on the property, an old garden shed, that already had a concrete pad and electricity running to it. My brother runs a small sawmill and provided some of the wood, which he milled from local trees (yes, Kansas has trees!), and another friend who’s a general contractor helped out with other material and supervising the project (tip: you don’t want me drywalling your house). I’m really happy with how it turned out.
And I might add that my offer is still on the table. If there is a contractor out there who wants to build me a shed (I live in central Pennsylvania–Cumberland County) I will be happy to provide his/her shed building company with unlimited free publicity and a permanent advertisement in the sidebar here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. Let’s work out a deal. Contact me at jfea(at)messiah(dot)edu
Do you work in a writing shed or cabin? We would be happy to consider featuring you here at the blog.
Music to my ears! In anticipation of our first child, my husband and I just built a writing/office shed at the back of our Durham, North Carolina, yard. I'm not that far from work, but we figured that it would be the best way to still love our jobs when that home/work line becomes blurry and then indistinguishable. Thanks for this post! Kate Bowler