I have entered a short story into a competition. The subject has to be food and drink. The prize is £10,000 and it is to be judged by Mary Berry and Phillip Pullman. This is my entry.
ARGGG – just realised it breaks the rules of the competition so I have had to take it down – sorry – it is brilliant
4:00 am Monday – My room is part of my therapy.
This is to be my first and last self help guide. I shall adopt a circumspect and slightly smug tone.
As you know I have cancer and when you have a serious illness it is suggested that alongside conventional treatment you should also retain an open mind about complimentary therapies. Many of these are provide by the NHS for free and they include things like Raiki, aromatherapy, foot massage, head massage as well as talking therapies and group therapies. I had a go at a couple but didn’t get on with them at all so I thought it might be useful to share with others my own alternative therapy.
I will call it shed therapy
I am very fortunate because I have all the normal necessities and my beloved family around me to keep me sane and happy. I would add to this one more thing that has been fundamental to my mental health since I was about nine years old, a house big enough so that I can have a dedicated me space. These spaces are my rooms, or if you prefer my sheds
My sheds are two spaces but they operate as one. The physical space is as you would imagine a room in a house while the metaphysical space is a room in my head. Hence head in the shed (meaning lost in crazy self contemplation) I hate the term man cave for the former but if it helps you dear readers to think in such crass terms then be my guest – a man cave it is. Since the age of nine the physical space I create is orderly, clean and tidy but exceptionally full of stuff. The order is apparent only to me. For example without counting them I would say I have something in the region of 50 drawers in my room of various sizes all containing critical bits and pieces mainly of a technical nature. Most of my furniture is on wheels, the idea being that I could wheel it all out and create a rehearsal space, an idea long since abandoned. I have two scaffolding poles the length of the ceiling, put in when the room was being built that allow me to trail cables across the ceiling and hang anything I like from above, speakers, lights etc. The room has a concrete painted floor so I can freely drill and burn and solder and do all those other man cave things. It is on the ground floor in the centre of the house next to the kitchen so household hubbub is a comforting background buzz. It is paradise.
It forms the perfect analogue of my head. All the things that fill my head fill my room and vice versa. If I am dreaming of theatre I have theatre models and props, if I am needing music I have all the players and instrument. If I need to write I have pens typewriters, rulers, staplers, guillotines, Prit and drawing boards. I have hundreds of tools, gazillions of cables, all my lighters and phones. I have a work bench a vice, a magnifying light. Filing cabinets, books and records. For nourishment of mind and hand I have absolutely no need to go anywhere else. My creative life is completed and rounded by these two spaces. I cannot imagine why, given this incredible abundance anyone would need to travel more than 50 metres. I hereby declare that I would happily live out the rest of my life without moving out of my sheds except to watch telly and barbecue in the summer .
I cannot recommend it enough.
So feeling blue, stressed, or just plain poorly get yourself a shed and pour the contents of your head into it.