Fake Spaces

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 9.46.02 PMTHINGS DON’T MAKE SPACES LOOK FAKE, WE DO. When my husband and I first moved into our home 13 years ago, the bay window in the kitchen needed to be replaced.

Above that window on the second story, there was a sliding door that enabled us to walk onto the kitchen’s bay window tar roof, but nobody wants to walk on asphalt, let alone when it’s hot and sunny. Of course, a sunny afternoon is a perfect time to be on a deck, right? For 10 years I dreamt of that potential deck as the most amazing space in the whole house. I knew it was meant to be a place to have coffee in the mornings, do yoga in the afternoon, and have wine at sunset. I knew it had a purpose!

When we finally got around to replacing the bay window, it allowed us to build our dream deck. I couldn’t wait to do all the things I imagined.

Until reality set in.

First of all, I always have my first cup o’ joe in the bathroom while I get ready for the day, and by the time I have my second I’m off running around, so I wasn’t drinking coffee out there. I go to a yoga studio to do yoga, otherwise, I’m not motivated to do yoga, so I didn’t do yoga on it. Sitting to have a glass of wine outside our master bedroom when you already have a great deck just ten feet from the kitchen takes a couple of unnecessary steps. Even though I had imagined this deck since the day we moved in, a decorated balcony is not something we really, truly needed.

On most warm days, for the last year and a half, I had only opened those cantina doors to walk outside and just breathe. That’s it. It sounds indulgent and empty considering all the wonderful plans I had for that space, but nothing I imagined seemed right.

I was about to fake out the deck with furniture to make it look like we actually used it when it struck me. I imagined turf on the floor. Turf isn’t really something I’ve ever been drawn to, but the image was so vivid that I looked up the definition of turf. It was a sign.

Turf is:
-Peat for fuel
-Grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots
-An informal area regarded as someone’s territory
-A person’s sphere of influence or activity

They say you become a good writer when you read or write a lot. For the last eight years, I have been teaching myself to write. Un-elegantly scrawling out words. Lots of them. To write something interesting, though, it needs to be personal. The deck, I realized, was just that. It was meant to be a place for me to write.

It would be much more than an impersonal space. I was going to write a book on that deck.

I had to soften it with turf and make it my territory, where my sphere of activity could grow, but there’s a stigma around turf. I thought about it. When things are personal, whether you’re writing a book or designing a space, they’re not fake, affected, or artificial. They can be good or bad, sure, but not fake.

Suddenly, I knew I had to decorate it with turf. Artificial grass ended up being the most real thing I could put in that space. I can’t tell you how much time our family and friends have sat on that deck to talk, have wine, or just breathe. And me? I’m out there writing.

I could write all day if I could.

And guess what? I am.

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