Life in a Teacup: A Tiny Home Memoir
Do you recall the first place that felt like home, once you left your parents? For me it was a Lilliputian cabin in my mid-20’s, after several uninspiring apartments.
I lived in that stucco cabin for a year. Smaller than most bedrooms at 7’ x 14’—all of 98 sq. feet—the ceiling was so low that tall visitors had to duck. Upstate New York’s deep snows made the tiny building a white bump on a white hill. Heat leaked through visible cracks in the single-pane window’s aluminum frames, and I could barely turn around in the shower stall. Hardly a place you’d expect fond memories to attach, but they did.
My new book Life in a Teacup: A Tiny Home Memoir starts with that cabin, shares my dissatisfactions after buying a suburban home, and details the return to minimal living in a home I designed and (partly) built. Some of the stories are as manic as those in my memoir about my apprenticeship, Post-Dated, so if you like revealed insanity, you’ll like this one.
I talk a lot about my attachment to belongings, and the weep-fest on letting many go. Like Post-Dated, writing it took me to places I didn’t expect. I wondered, researched, and wrote about the psychology of space. Of how we rest. Of our assumptions of home. And there’s plenty of ill-adventured tales involving emptying composting toilets, design mistakes, and road height limits for wheeled things.
It may seem strange that I’m writing about a non-bonsai subject on a bonsai blog. I have my reasons. When Bonsai Heresy was in post-production I had several conversations with students along the lines of “So, I’m finishing up this bonsai book. You might be interested.” “Ya, that’s nice. Good for you. Tell us about the tiny home book!” Hence this post.
One thing I’ve learned about manuscripts is that you write until you’re finished. Publishing waits its turn. You get excited, “Great! This is going well, I’ll be done by Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Whichever comes first.” Well. They came and went. Twice. After three years I was positive it’d be published in 2022. Then this spring I realized it had more to teach me.
I’m still writing. Rewriting. Repondering. I HOPE this memoir will be out in 2023. Having attempted to crystal ball this before, that’s far from a guarantee. I will report closer in. Until then, wishing everyone well from 192 sq. feet.