On February 1st, we began our shared writing project: a book about building our house. Which is also a book about creating a life together, a family. I wondered how it would go, how each of us would begin. And it turns out we began at different places, in different ways. It’s so interesting to me to think about those years, what I remember, what I don’t. And how bringing out some photographs prompted some memories and also required some adjustments to what I’d written.
Why didn’t we take proper photographs? Our camera in those years was a Polaroid. Unlike Patti Smith, we didn’t have an instinct for composition or even (as it turns out) focus. Here’s our little camp, with the tent under its tarp (and a baby sleeping inside); you can see the footing boxes. If we finish our book, you will be able to read about them, how they were built, the method for mixing concrete on a bluff with no well yet (that came later), no power (that also came later). We’ll tell you about the string and the boards.
The first actual structure was this. The building code required it.
Once the temporary power was on-site, we could cut beams and joists. There was a lot of nailing.
And eventually? Well, this:
If you look in centre of this image and squint a bit, you can see our front door. It leads into an open space, divided by a wall of leaded windows—a hall, a big kitchen, a small dining area. I’m nailing the subfloor for that. Behind me? The view we still see from our kitchen and dining area. The trees are bigger but the sun still sets over the long rise you see in the west. If we keep writing, keep looking at photographs to remind us, we’ll get there.