I scanned the listings on Craig’s list and found a cottage in the woods, not far from town.
I love my studio. It’s on the third floor of a landmark building constructed in 1839. It has a history only the walls can share. Ghosts roam the hallways, and everyone knows it. All of mine are good. I can feel them whenever I walk into my studio. Warmth and grandeur envelope me when I turn the key. The old tin ceilings and the wide-planked uneven floors squeak with stories, and the atmosphere itself has a quality of richness. I breathe it in every time I step through the door. But… the door is always open. The studio is accessible to the designers and look-y-loo’s that frequent this cooperative antique market. Most of these visits I enjoy and find inspiring in odd ways, and many leads to new collectors.
Occasionally though, I want to work in solitude, or paint from a nude model, or host a fellow painter for the weekend. As much as I love my studio, these events don’t gel with the “open studio” concept of my space.
I dialed the number on the Craig’s list add. “Hi Joe, I’m calling about your cottage in the woods,” I said. “Why do you want it?” he asked. I explained. “Yeah, I wouldn’t be interested in that. The last guy that lived here was kind of quiet and had no friends, and that was pretty much perfect” he said. “I want to find someone who has no friends and won’t create a fuss. “Aren’t you in Lambertville?” I asked. “No, Outside of it,” Joe said. “The only people in Lambertville are Mexican or Italian, and if you aint either of those then you married into your own kind and you ain’t any better than the rest of ‘em!” he said. “OK, so you are looking for a lonely miserable person who is not Mexican, Italian, or gay – with no friends, …correct?” I asked. “Well, yeah.” He said.
“Perhaps you should just live there, Joe? I bet you’re the perfect candidate.” I said. Joe hung up the phone.
I turned the key to my third-floor studio and breathed it in. I walked across the squeaky floor to my messy corner of the world. I thought about the artists who occupied this space before me, and I was happy to be among them. I felt a bit sad for Joe’s grumpy heart and happy that mine didn’t fit his bill. A bit more art in Joe’s heart might be the best tenant he could find.