This is a picture of one of my writer friend’s house. It’s in a small town in Iowa and it has been in her family for a hundred years. My friend
has been kind enough to invite me and several other writer friends to stay for writer’s retreats and also a couple of workshops in the past. The house is beautiful. The porch in this photo is actually the kitchen porch and this is alocal dairy shooting a commercial for the company’s 100th
I had to include the second picture so you could see the front porch. The house is situated on a corner lot and the front porch sits at an angle. You can’t miss it as you drive into town. There are four bedrooms up with a huge bathroom and a claw foot tub. One of the bedrooms is across the hall from another porch above the front door. When the weather is hot, you can open the bedroom door and the door to the porch to catch a nice breeze. As you walk down the front stairway, yes there are two, you pass a stained glass window and step into the front foyer. A hat tree greets you with lots of vintage hats hanging there. To the left is the front parlor and if you follow the hallway past that parlor it takes you to the dining room and the back parlor with an office/bedroom and half bath off of that. The kitchen is a wide galley with an area big enough for a round table and a couple of chairs that sits between two doors that lead to the butler pantries. One has been updated to hold the washer and dryer now but the other has built in glass front cupboards that hold several sets of dishes.
The house is large enough that we could each find our own space to write during the day but we all eventually got together for coffee or tea. We made it an event by choosing our favorite cup and saucer from our friend’s collection.
When it was time to stretch our legs we’d take a walk and discover the town. This house is only one of many old Victorians. The streets are made of pavers and there are a lot of churches. The grocery store is smaller than we were used to and it was a surprise to find out that the town is dry. To buy alcohol you have to go to a convenience store outside of the city limits.
Our time there was magical and some have attributed it to the house. I do agree that the setting was inspiring but I also think as a whole we created an artistic energy that is hard to reproduce on our own. Some times as I struggle with my own writing, I dust off those memories and picture myself curled up in the front parlor with my notepad and pen as someone suggests a writing prompt and then I’m off writing again.