The Mansion Inside a Cabin Inside an Apartment . . . .

Exterior detail, clerestory, Quarters Building, State Arboretum of Virginia At the University of Virginia, October 24, 2012.

Mine is a mansion inside a cabin inside an apartment by woods on the eastern edge of western Maryland, ninety minutes northwest of Washington, D.C. as the Mustang flies.

It’s library contains 2,000 volumes; its home theater sports 7.1 surround sound; its bar: generously stocked.

Absent: family.

Present: funds.

Computer: home-built 2007 XP box.

Monitor: LaCie 320.

Printer: an HP hulk I call “Bertha” (B9180, Vivera inks, A3+ sheets).

Facade, Quarters Building, State Arboretum of Virginia, Boyce, October 24, 2012.

No writer — or photographer or musician or composer or painter — has ever enjoyed for “base camp” so basically good a setup.

As much as I may think of my home — and of myself, an entertaining peacock, or so I hope — the situation’s actually modest and, perhaps, fragile: Communicating Arts, my long nurtured baby,  needs to shoot a few more weddings or pick up editorial assignments or other projects to meet the costs of carrying itself, not to mention myself (champagne tastes — beer money, so far).

At this point as regards the business, I really don’t know how to get out of it, nor do I really wish to.

I have found my happy place and am living in it!

As perhaps did also the woeful Higgins, my bachelor scene wants for company, but let’s set that aside for a moment.

II have reached an age (one still too young — and less than spectacularly successful —  to cast it with the snootier “attained”) where I prefer a tattersall to a t-shirt, chinos to jeans, a sport coat or leather jacket to denim, and still . . . I love old buildings, gardens, dirt tracks, open rural country.

I have a selfish dream: I want to photograph old private gardens and estates, the vestiges of the 19th Century romance that birthed Town & Country.

Why did I shoot the facade of the research center, the “Quarters Building”, so aligned?

To avoid public building signage and a big red fire extinguisher mounted on the wall just inside the building’s portal.

So God, I pray thee, help me wander through gardens bereft of name tags and interpretive plaques!

On the western flank of the State Arboretum of Virginia lays an old estate — The Tuleyries.

Signed (and posted), worthy of a Wikipedia entry, the private property is the bookmatch, which as a bequest it really is, to the accessible public research center’s acreage.

In my Hollywood-in-Maryland spirit, I have my carefully matured, if crowded, digs, which is a more comfortable version of what I’ve had in quarters for decades.  Said I to my backpacking buddies back when, “As long as my friends have mansions, hot tubs, and sailboats, I’ll be fine.”

It was true back then.

Today, still ambitious, less suffocated, more spirited — and altogether more free in the ownership of my calendar than I have ever been — I may look in the mirror and ask myself: “Jimbo — where is your mansion, hot tub, and sailboat?”

It may be too late to get there — one never knows — but there are some things I may do yet to lift my “digs” into, say, a rancher with a basement and a garage (and beams and posts capable of withstanding — this before I am finished accumulating it —  12,000 pounds or more of books).

I’m ready to settle down, free-write, turn my older and wiser horse toward fiction, continue with photography, reprogram whatever it may be that I do with music.

All things considered, and considering what I have kept and kept preserved in intangibles and tanbiles, I am a lucky man.

From the road, the gatehouse of The Tuleyries.

However, I am not Gatsby or Gatsby’s friend or even the acquaintance of a reveler: that lane may as well be a bridge drawn up with a moat beneath it.

Nonetheless, I still enjoy a drive in the country  now and then and the treat for the eyes of a stretch of pristine rural America.  If I’m to make lovely pictures — or fashion compelling short stories, novels, and screenplays — there is no other now quite like now.

Conditions are very good.

From the road, a patch of The Tuleyries in the sunset period still a part of the afternoon’s “sweet light”.

One response to “The Mansion Inside a Cabin Inside an Apartment . . . .

  1. Pingback: The Quiet Hour: Toward Change II – “The Hellidays” | J. S. Oppenheim — All Together

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