It’s a miserable day in Swords today. The rain is unrelenting, sky a brooding grey and it’s cold enough to warrant putting the heat on. The type of weather that normally sends me to the edge of the abyss.
Not today though.
I am ensconced in my beautiful blue she shed, my me shed, tigin Eibhlin, and am head over heels in love with it. The only sounds I can hear are the rain pattering on the roof, sporadic louder splashes of rainwater spilling out of my house’s clogged gutters, and the soft hiss of gas from the Superser. My shed is what has been missing all my life. My own space. Solitude.
When I started dabbling in writing twelve years ago I thought I had found the thing that had been missing in my life, my thing, my passion; the medium through which I could communicate coherently with others, express my world view. It seemed to fulfil that ‘what’s it all about?’’ hole for me at that stage in my life.
However, I recently realised that writing is, for me, is also an excuse to be on my own. To return to those times in childhood and adolescence where I could lose myself in a book for hours on end, only emerging from the dreamlike trance books put me in when someone physically touched me, bringing me back from the world the author had created for me. With the shed I have regained that solitude, and can use it how I like; to read, to write, to think. I’m privileged to have been able to indulge myself and buy this space, and for the first time ever I don’t feel guilty about spending money on myself. It’s an investment in my mental health as much as anything.
I’m raved here in the past about the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan. I love that place; the first time I arrived there I felt like I had landed home. If I arrive there for a visit in an energized mood I can usually achieve really good work, if I go there blocked it can help unblock me (unless I hit the Red Biddy too hard! Alcohol blocks creativity for me). It is the deep stillness of the place. A space to think. To be.
I’m getting exactly that same sense of energy and home in the silence of my shed. The quietness is nourishing my little fire of creativity, stopping me rushing things and submitting too early; I feel the work I’m producing now is a lot better than my pre she-shed work, my output is certainly up. There are no banging doors in it, no ringing doorbells, flushing loos, thunderous poundings up and down stairs; no blaring radios, no babbling tvs, no strummin’ guitars pluckin’ banjos plinkin’ mandolins or ripplin’ pianos. There are no hummin’ whistlin’, singin’ mutterin’ bargin’ males. There is only my breath, the rain on the roof, my fingers on the keyboard or pencil scratching across the page as I write letters to make words that form sentences, slowly building something, all this underscored by the sibilant hiss of the SuperSer and the occasional rustle of paper when I need to consult a book.
In one word. Bliss.
I may well become a hermit. I suppose l’ll still come out the odd day to play with yiz! If yiz will have me, that is. M’wah.