My residency at Elsewhere Studios is almost over, and I’ll have been here five months. That’s a long time, apparently, judging by the reactions I get when I tell people. But since I’m writing several novels at once, the time has gone by too fast. I did manage to finish my femme noir mystery, as well as the first draft of novel that is becoming much more than I ever thought it would be, and which I intend to nurse along instead of rush to completion.
But I wanna talk about communication. It’s been a real honor to have lived and worked in this house for so many days, with many wonderful individuals who have shared with me their art, their humor, and their optimism. I lived alone for the past seven years, so coming here to a communal space was slightly daunting, to say the least. I needn’t have worried. Elsewhere residents are open, honest, fun and responsible. I am inspired to make changes in my own behavior.
But I wanted to mention that if I could change anything about the way we all communicate around here, I would insist on….a housewide intercom system!! Or perhaps walkie talkies. Yes!
The upstairs suite possesses a treehouse-like sense of privacy, the gingerbread house lives in its own outside realm, the basement apartment has a separate entrance, and the Loft Room allows its occupant to choose invisibility via a closed a door. All residents can move freely between their own sealed-off bubbles of me-time and the group atmosphere of the studio, kitchen and living area. But sometimes when we want to get together on purpose, it’s hard to discuss plans or gather everyone without sending emails out into the ether and waiting, or hoping that someone’s cell service receives a text. Walk down to the basement or walk upstairs? What??!!!
Solution: INTERCOM!! Now, I know this will never happen, but wouldn’t it be so fun and so 1983?
Crackle crackle buzz static.
Kitchen comm: Hey, man, we’re havin' Bloody Mary’s tonight, you comin’ up?
Basement comm: Eh...I don’t know….I’m working on a woodcut the size of my truck.
Kitchen comm: Bloody Mary night!! You in?
Gingerbread comm: ……..
Kitchen comm: Helloooo?
Kitchen comm: Bloody Mary night! You in?
Studio comm: Dude, I’m right in the next room. Why’re you intercomming me?
Kitchen comm: Well you weren’t in the Gingerbread house so… Hey, Bloody Mary’s?
Loft comm: Are you coming down tonight?
Upstairs Suite comm: Oh yes. I just bought a growler from Revolution Brewing and a bottle of vodka. And we have goat cheese...
Paging All House comms: Woooooooo wooooooooooooo (ghostly moaning)
Kitchen comm: What the heck are you doing?
Loft comm: What do you mean? I think there’s a ghost. This place is haunted.
Paging All House comms: ooooooooo woooooooooooooooo
Kitchen comm: If you got time to pretend you’re a ghost, maybe you could come out here and wash your breakfast dishes?
Loft comm: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Those aren’t my dishes.
Studio comm: Have you seen Tomato? I miss that cat. Haven’t seen him for hours.
Upstairs Suite comm: He’s up here sleeping on my lap.
Studio comm: Stop hogging him!
Paging All House comms: Elsewhere? Come in, Elsewhere, over. Please report to the kitchen when you hear the ghost.
Paging All House comms: Wooooooooo oooooooo aaaawwwwwwwooooooooooo