The mention of a shed might conjure up images of hammers, bits of wood, nuts, bolts, and your dad enthusiastically building things no one will ever need. But what about pens, papers, typewriters, and Pulitzer Prizes?
Many of history’s greatest writers chose to connect with their muses in a humble shack out the back. From Roald Dahl’s shack to Michael Pollan's snow-covered hut and Virginia Woolf’s cottage cabin, the simplicity of a single room was often the best place for many of our best thinkers to refine their thoughts.
In his Opinionator blog, New York Times writer David Wood takes a look at some of these rooms, analysing everything from their location to the placement of the furniture within them to better understand their illustrious owners. One small but telling find: the desks were often placed in the centre of the room, not against a wall with some inspiring window. David hypothesises that the satisfaction comes “not so much [from] having a view of nature as being part of it”.
That’s all well and good for the well-to-do writers of times past. But can the writers of the digital age really produce work of that same standard by ignoring the siren songs of our devices and committing to pensive solitude in the depths of nature?
Maybe you could get your dad to build you one, and find out. Or be like our own Michael Green and build one yourself.
Shacks, top to bottom: Michael Pollan's, Roald Dahl's, Philip Pullman's and Virgina Woolf's, and the inside of Dylan Thomas’s.