A Witch’s Cottage

Years ago, when I was still working as a lawyer, I went to the New England Flower Show. It was not as interesting as I had expected: many of the displays were made with flowers so perfect that they looked plastic. They looked stiff and formal, not at all the way I like my flowers to look, which is wild. I’m with Marianne: I would have preferred Willoughby’s flowers to Colonel Brandon’s as well.

But there was one display I loved and still remember. It was the front of a cottage surrounded by a garden, and the garden smelled so sweet! It was labeled a Witch’s Cottage, and all the plants around it were herbs, or old-fashioned flowers like violets and pinks. I thought, that’s where I want to live, in the Witch’s Cottage.

Years later, I read what became my favorite decorating book, which is not a decorating book at all: Elephant House, which was written about Edward Gorey’s house just after he died. It’s filled with photographs, and the one thing you can tell from them is that the house was absolutely distinctive. No one else could have lived in it but Gorey.  (Nowadays, it is a museum.)

I called this post “A Witch’s Cottage,” but it’s really about my desire for a Writer’s Cottage. I have a dream that someday I’ll be able to have a cottage in which to write, a small cottage with a garden where I’ll grow old roses, and violets and pinks. It will have an herb garden. Inside, it will be lovely and eccentric, and filled with light. And it will be distinctive, the sort of place that only I could create.

Tonight I am very tired, and I’m almost homesick for that Writer’s Cottage, or Witch’s Cottage, because a writer is very like a witch. With her cat, making magic with words. And maybe changing the world, just a little.

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10 Responses to A Witch’s Cottage

  1. Duncan Long says:

    Niee story…. I hope one day soon you get to live in your writer’s cottage. It is a very beautiful dream.

  2. rushmc says:

    >>a writer is very like a witch

    The difference being that we tend only to burn a writer’s books nowadays…I suppose that’s progress.

  3. Oh, that made me laugh out loud! Yes, that is progress indeed . . .

  4. Emily Gilman says:

    I have a friend who is a witch, and a writer, and a crafter; when she started her blog her first entry was about how all of those things are Craft, and therefore all Magick. (She’s also an interfaith minister and a generally cool person, but this made me think of that entry in particular.)

    Entry’s here if you’re interested: http://www.nyxsdaughters.com/blog/2010/9/22/hello-my-name-is-anna-and-im-a-witch.html

  5. Thanks, Emily! I especially liked this: “Magick, Witchcraft, The Craft, it is all about shaping your life and the world around you.” Writing is also a kind of magick (although I have to admit I like the traditional spelling, magic, just as I prefer Merlin to Merlyn and fairy to faerie).

  6. Monex says:

    In October 2008 I started building this witch s cottage at a workshop in Lower Hutt NZ tutored by Rik Pierce. A witch s cottage wouldn t be a real witch s cottage without crows on the roof methinks so as I sat down yesterday to start working on my owl I decided to make a few crows as well. – However I have worked hard as well because after we arrived back home from our holiday I had to get my witch s cottage ready for display.

  7. Monex, that sounds terrific! Perhaps you could post or link to a picture in the comments?

  8. Niee story…. I hope one day soon you get to live in your writer’s cottage. It is a very beautiful dream.

  9. Brittany says:

    I think a writer is a kind of witch for sure :). I hope you find your cottage soon!

  10. Thanks, all! I hope so too . . . (Then I’ll get to be the eccentric lady in the cottage, with my cats and my manuscripts.)

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