We arrived in Texas in February of 2018. Besides everything else that was part of the move, like starting a new job, throwing bunches of stuff in storage, new Driver’s Licenses, etc, we started work on renovating a historic home in our new hometown (population 652). How historic, we didn’t know. The tax records show it as being built in the late 1930s.
Our down-to-the-studs work on the home became more like archeology. It turns out the back 2/3s of the house was built in 1937, while the front 1/3 is a tacked on old Baptist church from between 1860 – 1880, based on the construction materials and techniques used (rusty iron nails shaped more like splinters, barn-wood, and even some scraps of hand-painted wallpaper we found).
This is going to be my last home. Growing up as part of an Air Force family, I moved a lot as a kid. Then I joined the Coast Guard and bounced around for another ten years or so after that. I hated moving and never feeling like anywhere was home (even and perhaps especially my most recent 25 years in California). My wife understands that the only way I’m leaving this house is when they carry me out in a pine box, and she has the same opinion. We flippin’ love Texas.
Knowing all of this, my smart and very loving wife had spent a great deal of time creating an office for me. She’s a huge fan of my writing, and wanted to give me a place of my own (not a desk in a shared space or tucked to one side of the living room) where I could create some alleged magic. She even went out of her way to get the office completely decorated before the rest of the house because she wanted to give me that gift.
Anyhow, the renovation of the entire home itself is drawing to a close…we might be able to end Phase I (“make the house livable and beautiful inside and out”) in as little as two months and move in. After an appropriate period of settling in and resting (work has been taking place 6 -7 days a week for months now), we can start Phase II (landscaping, etc.).
But everyone’s life has layers. Even as this work was happening, I’ve kept working steadily on my true life’s work: that writing thing, you know?
Dedicated readers might recall that I’d received the first “John Milius” screenwriting award in November of 2018. Yesterday, I had a phone call scheduled with the festival organizers. I also happened to be at the house, putting up some window trim, and decided to make the call from our soon-to-be home.
So, the first official creative work I did in my office was to accept a screenwriting fellowship with a very successful film and television producer.
It felt like a damned good start.