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My Studio: Martha Brooks

A couple of decades ago my very much alive, artistic and adorable husband, Brian, made me an office—one of mad genius vision, as was his way. The whole thing started with me going on about how, whenever we shut down Eden (the family’s summer place) for the winter, I always longed for it, and I hated the city and it was just too much for me to stand. How could I possibly go back to working in such a horrible environment. “For one thing there’s no light. It’s awful, just awful,” I whined, ignoring the fact of my third story North-facing window and the company I keep, just beyond it, with a graceful sky-reaching cedar tree.

 “Well, Martha,” he said, “that room you work in has a loft-like feel and I’ve been thinking about it. I’m going to knock out the wall into the stairwell.”

 “What?”

“And of course, when I do that, because of the skylight in the stairwell, there’ll be light flooding into your space.”

My mind immediately went to me falling out of my office onto the landing below. The whole idea made me dizzy.

“Don’t worry,” he said, reading my mind. “I’ll put up a glass wall. It’s going to be great.”

“But then,” I said, “where will I work? What will I do when all this is going on? How long is this going to take?”

He put his long arm around me, hugged me and said, “It’s not going to happen overnight, honey.”

Of course it didn’t. It took about six months of evenings and weekends and all of his spare time. A different kind of dizzy overtook me as I watched him work his magic. The old wall came out, the glass wall went in and the whole room glowed with sunshine. Book shelves were built, floor to ceiling, sponged a rich Mediterranean yellow, the walls to match. He painstakingly painted a wondrous summer sky with clouds, on the ceiling, and a section of it continued down one corner of the room to the floor—an illusion created that my floor led off into some unknown landscape. Then came the desk he’d designed—a slab of green glass set on two free-standing triangular sheets of metal painted to suggest tree trunks growing up through the house.

For many years this has been a space in which to write and dream. But of course Brian is everywhere, now, and from mid-spring to late fall the space where I continue to create is Eden—a studio without walls where I find my Muse, now Brian, in the wind in the trees, and the waves lapping on the shore below, and the birds flying in the blue blue sky overhead. And so, my dears, the photo I’ve chosen for you shows an October view of the space that inspired us both. Here it is. Here is our Eden.

Last modified onMonday, 01 June 2015 11:11

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Turnstone Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and the Province of Manitoba through Manitoba Culture Heritage, Tourism and Sport.

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