The Making of a Studio: The Separation of Church and State

For many of us who are self-employed, home and office are often one and the same. And if you live in a small apartment like I do, it can get pretty crowded. And confusing. Some days I’m changing hats as fast as one of those jugglers busking in the park. I come home from teaching and decide I better check my email and find myself donning my work hat again. I start revising a chapter of the novel in the morning and discover I’ve lost the whole day that needed to go toward prepping for a workshop. In addition, I’ve had to limit the number of participants in my Wednesday writing group because my apartment can only hold so many people, and I have to hunt down outside venues anytime I want to hold a special workshop.

Something had to give.

The solution: find a space outside my home where I could take my “day job” and hold my private groups and workshops. I call this the separation of church and state.

After months of searching and many, many not-quite-rights and are-you-kidding me?, I found 2911 Adams. A low-slung building in the center of San Diego refurbished to its original mid-century coolness.

2911 Adams Building

My studio is the newly finished “patio room,” a long, skinny space created by enclosing the former patio.

We'll be inside, writing

It comes with a view out to the courtyard, which is where we’ll hold the Blue Moon Writing Workshop, the first gathering in the new space.

Courtyard (imagine more chairs/tables)

I needed chairs for the writers to sit on, which I found through Craig’s List and toted home in my car. Imagine 17 chairs in the backseat of a Toyota Celica convertible.

A Chaos of Chairs

I needed a long table where the writers can gather:

Almost there

I needed a rug and my desk and bookcase and, it seems, everyday something that is still at home. But these days, after I finish my morning writing time, I’m there wearing my Judy Reeves, teacher and writing practice provocateur hat.

What I need is a name for the space. I won’t call it The Patio Room; that sounds like a room at a suburban Denny’s decorated with plastic flowers and fake palm trees. So here’s my offer: Name the studio and if your name is selected you’ll win a hot-off-the-press Lively Muse Writer’s Daily Desk Calendar, which will be released this fall. Just write your suggestions in the “comments” section below.

Meantime, I can’t wait for the writers to come with their boundless creativity, wild imaginations and many stories. Maybe I’ll see you at the Open House this fall. I hope so.

23 thoughts on “The Making of a Studio: The Separation of Church and State

  1. What about Chez Renee Studio? Your new rooms and patio have a comfortable yet classy look to them. Sure wish I could join you there.
    Greetings from southern Oregon. Beth

    • Hi Beth,
      Thanks so much for your suggestion. Is there something I don’t know about the reference to “Renee”? (I hope I’m not being especially dense, literarily, as I can sometimes be.)

      • I am wondering too but didn’t want to look illiterate. I knew I shoulda bought some chocolate when I was at the store this morning.

      • Hi Judy. Sorry it has been so long. Have been in and out of state teaching, packing, unpacking, laundry, packing. About to leave again.
        So about Renee…
        I am thinking of famous writers Renée Vivien and Natalie Barney. Also Renee Russo and Renee Zelwigger; Rene Descartes, too. And all the women at the cash registers who scribble on scraps of paper, and the waitresses everywhere who jot fast phrases on the back of their order pads and the mothers who write notes on post it’s. Somehow Renee is everywoman. Chez Renee. Hope this helps.
        Warm regards. Beth

      • Thanks, Beth. Now I see how your mind works. I still haven’t made any choices for the name of the place. Read in “Studios” magazine that back in the day (way way back) the studio was called the studiolo and was a place for all manner of artistic goings on. I’m still using The Lively Muse Studio. Who knows what will eventually come. Thanks for participating! Give my love to Renee.

  2. Your “Chaos of Chairs” photo is scary. Excellent haunty house fodder. Imagine coming in to one of your writing sessions and finding your well ordered room in, well, chaos. I wonder what the ghostie will do with the rug in the next shot?

  3. seems like “church” should be a part of the name…. The Church of Judy 🙂 The Writers’ Church, Church of the Mighty Pen

    I’m only half kidding– writing in community feels spiritual to me, connecting with each other, connecting to whatever higher power

  4. I have loved using your books. I think of them as part of my Writing Trail (opposite of writer’s block). Maybe your office could be something like Destination M.U.S.E. (Mentoring & Uplifting in a Safe Enviroment). Thank you for sharing yourself.

    • Hi Jo, Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad my books are serving you and your writing. And thanks for the suggestion for the name of the new space, too. I’m loving all these creative contributions.

  5. It looks wonderful! Can’t wait to see it in person. So happy you found such a great, comfortable, bright writing space. xoxoRob

    • Leslie, did you see my note that this building used to be a medical clinic? Thanks for your suggestion. The Reeves Clinic, First Aid for your Writing Project. Wonder if we could get it covered on insurance policies.

    • Thanks for chiming in, Liz. I get an image of gorgeous sunsets over a far horizon, us on the veranda in our adirondack chairs, sipping Long Island ice teas and writing poetry.

    • How appropriate, Linda. The building originally housed a medical clinic. Still in place: the Dutch-door for the pharmacy; the “powder room” sign at the entrance to a, well, powder room; the sliding doors that opened to the exam rooms that line the long hallway.

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