Undine had a nice post last week about “Writing House Fantasies,” in which she explores her fantasy about a little detached cottage in which to write. Most writers’ houses, she writes, “They have a window or two, and a view that’s just beautiful enough to reward a glance without encouraging prolonged staring out the window. They have lots of natural wood surfaces, including tables or desks, and room for some books.” She continues,
The writing house of my fantasy has electricity but not Internet access or phones. Sometimes, in the nineteenth-century version of my fantasy, I bend the rules a little and picture working in a screened-in porch attached to a beautiful old shingle-style house high above the water (a recent house I saw inspired this one). So–wood, light, air, and nature are the only real requirements.
Undine also includes links to a bunch of different writers’ cottages/studies: Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, and Road Dahl, for example. (Mark Twain’s unexpurgated autobiography? Sign me up, please! Can’t wait!)
I’ve always thought this was a great idea, ever since I saw Thomas Jefferson’s writing shed at Monticello (above right.) At least, that’s my recollection of it. Maybe I’m laying that trip on TJ, since that’s my fantasy. It was really difficult to find a photo online of TJ’s writing house–as I recall, it wasn’t a part of our tour (we weren’t permitted inside) but it was pointed out to us. But, it’s been 16 years since I was at Monticello. Anyone who’s been there recently is invited to please enlighten me.