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My Studio: Paul Nicholas Mason

I have a study in the walk-out basement of my home in Peterborough. It looks out on the back yard which, while small, abuts a conservation area. My view, then, is of trees and bushes, some of which I planted myself. I see a lot of birds, some squirrels, and the odd fox. If all you could see of my neighbourhood were the view from my study, you might well think that I lived out in the country rather than within city limits.

One of my daughters and her husband and child are currently living with me, so I generally have a domestic soundscape while I work. Every now and then, moreover, my little granddaughter—eleven months old—will push the door open and crawl into the room, with one of her parents close behind. I’m not complaining: whatever cost there may be to my focus, their presence is a blessing. And my granddaughter's little uplifted face is always welcome.

The room is filled with books—novels, plays, and non-fiction of one kind or another—and there are also several pictures, some photographs, and a few keepsakes. Some of my work escapes sentimentality, but I am inescapably a sentimental man myself. I hang on to things that have been given me by people I love.

When my step-daughter and I moved into the house some years ago, a friend offered to give it a blessing. She went from room to room chanting and playing a small drum, and then she passed through again, spreading smoke from a bundle of burning, dried herbs in a clay bowl. The scent has long since vanished from everywhere else in the house, but every now and then I smell traces of it in my study.

Last modified onMonday, 21 March 2016 12:41

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

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