I think I like being in the shed. It’s not somewhere I’m especially meant to be. The squirrels don’t know I’m in here, watching them through the cobwebbed, single-pane, piece of shit window. The guys repaving the alleyway behind our house don’t know I’m in here; imagine their surprise. It’s like writing from the linen closet in a hospital, or the back of a covered pick-up truck in a parking lot, or the empty operators’s cab of a crane not in use today. But I wouldn’t go up there because I’m afraid of heights. Just one of the many things I pretended not to be.
How I came to be sitting in this shed is like all stories: Complicated, especially if you insist on things being true. I can strip it down – provide the barebones as it were – but it should be acknowledged that this is as close to the full picture as would be my diagramming the skeletal structure of a T-Rex from memory, with a crayon, and entitling it Dinosaurs: Everything You Need To Know.
We had a daughter in April and put new pieces of small but nice furniture for her into the third bedroom, which up until then I had been using as a sort-of writing shed. This was in the period before I knew I needed a such a thing (specifically my life previous to today). Before that we raised our son for a time in the apartment we used to live in and had to leave because it didn’t have enough room for both the present and the future. There was nothing really like a writing shed there. I used the coffee shops badly, mostly just pulling things out of my bag and looking at people and then going home perturbed that apart from asking for more coffee my insides had shown no interest in being involved with, or explaining themselves to, the outside. Before that we lived and worked on a boat and I didn’t have a shed there either, nor did I have a writing. This was a time of survival and my soul hibernated and occasionally bit people in its sleep because it was afraid that it’s first winter would also be its last.
Before that I was on tour except I don’t play music, or write books, or play sports, or have any fans. I was just on tour. Those times were all sorts of things, two of which were: Fun, and Lonely. While I was on tour I would sometimes make a writing shed in my lap on a beach somewhere, or on an airplane, or in the spare room of a house in the Caribbean that I couldn’t afford the rent on. But those sheds disappeared as soon as I stood up, and were really more of a concept anyway.
And before that I was a boy and I wasn’t allowed to play in the shed.
But now I am. With the arrival of our daughter I took a look around the house and couldn’t see anywhere to write. All of the bedrooms have people living in them. The bathroom is in frequent demand. The kitchen is busier than most subway stations, and the living room is also the dining room and in both cases the chances of being able to write there are similar to those of growing potatoes in an active landslide.
Then I looked outside; and saw the little blue shed at the back of the yard with new eyes. It is full of garden tools, planters, a lawnmower, a toboggan, other things, my surfboards, wood, extra wood and random shit like an deflated inflatable pool, a claxon, a Christmas tree base, and my first bike. But it also has a window, and I am looking out that window right now and no one knows that, not the squirrels, not the constructors, not anyone. I have a space heater and an extension cord and there is no one here but me. And I think I like being in the shed. And so I will try to come out here more often. Thank you.