Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The She Cave Takes Shape

Dear friends,

I know you've been worried about me. I still get so many wonderful letters and notes, it really makes me feel safe and loved. I haven't been sick-a little sometimes, and I can't say I've been depressed. Sad is an under-used word and it is not the same as depression. Feeling loss, grieving, hurting from the loss-that's not depression, which is an ongoing condition. I think I can say I've under-estimated the grief cycle. But that's okay. I'm just letting that ride. I've learned well from so many social work clients, from friends who have suffered losses, and from friends who are wonderful professionals that I need to listen to myself, pay attention, and learn to let things be. That's working, although it's hard sometimes. I can be so very avoidant.

I'll have some new things to tell you soon as far as books and publishing go, but they're not yet ready for disclosure. In the meantime I'd like to share with you the long project that is nearing its completion, the conversion of the former family room (aka family dump) into a She Cave suitable for writing, cover art, even craft projects. It's a part of a huge reclamation project (sorry, Jeff, I still love you muchly, but you were such a mess-maker). The entire house is being relieved of its excess burden, and is getting a lot of fix-up, clean-up and even new building in small doses. (Today, brother John is installing new shelves in my closet. Last week he built hanging storage in the garage. New sprinkler system next week.)

But this is my special project, partially inspired by my daughter Lori, who built her own She Cave. There isn't actually a lot of new stuff. I had the bookcases built a number of years ago, and they hold maybe a third of my books. This is a cold room-it is the lowest point in a tri-level, and while it's wonderfully cave-like and cool in summer, it's hardly bearable in winter, so we're re-vamping a lot of things to change that. The fireplace is an electric heater. (I had to give up on wood smoke years ago). A lot of decorative pieces have been relieved from over-burdened places in the rest of the house, and these are mostly nostalgia pieces. The mini horse is a gift from friend SamMarie Ashe in honor of the novella we co-wrote, THE BOSS WORE RED.

The burgundy leather chair and ottoman is the one new piece, that I bought with my first Montlake check. I am so glad I did. It's the most comfortable chair I've ever had and perfect for writing. John replaced the top on my laptop stand which had been previously used outdoors and ruined by damp weather despite always being under shelter. His woodworking skills are wonderful. He can turn a piece of plywood into a thing of beauty.

The Van Gogh screen is turning out to be a great buy too. It wasn't expensive, but it's very versatile as well as attractive. The other side is "Starry Night", which I love as much as "Irises", the side visible here. You can't see my framed antique maps, of 1812 Europe. But you can glimpse the coaching prints on the narrow wall above the ceiling, as seen from the kitchen.

The daybed has sure moved around a lot. We had moved it down to the dining room for Jeff when he got sick, but then realized we would have to use this room. Before we could move it again, he had died. But that's what gave me the idea for changing the room's purpose.  On the  table closest to the fireplace, you see a white knitted table cloth. I knitted this maybe 20 years ago, using an old lace doily pattern on a larger scale. It's an odd yarn-maybe dacron-that is strong, washes well, and was extremely cheap, so I ended up with two different round tablecloths. The other one is Battenburg lace, which I found cheap years ago because it needed repairs. My cats used it for hide-and-seek, unfortunately, so once I finished most of the repairs, I put it over this file cabinet, and now they can't hide under it. It's old, fragile, and was probably never of great value, but I love it, and will keep on working until all the hundreds of thread breaks are fixed.

Frankie Blue-Eyes and Jinx have taken over, you can see. But they'll get bored soon. It's already become my favorite place. They'll come around for treats and occasional love laps. And now I have to get back to writing. Thanks for dropping in to my cave!


  1. This is wonderful and I can picture you in there with Jinx and Frankie Blue-Eyes. The most important thing about a She Cave is to have something meaningful and pleasant, everywhere you look. You also have a few months to get that warm and cozy feeling during the winter months - accomplished.

    I also love that tri-fold screen with the iris design.

    Sad, grief and loss, will be with you now so it's good to have a She Cave full of color and treasures. You have beauty and wonder to create. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Delle,

    I love your cozy new office! It's like a tea parlor den. I can't wait to see it in person!


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I write write write. Sometimes I travel. Then I write some more. And I have a great family who understand that I write write write.