Spoiler alert: I don’t actually have a new house out in Newalla.
Though, about two years ago, Chris and I were actually thinking about buying a house out there. Newalla isn’t exactly the type of place two city kids daydream about. And neither of us particularly liked the idea of living so far away from our jobs. Even so, the house we found was adorable, affordable, and it would’ve been a lot of fun to give people directions to our home and let them know that it was right off of Triple X Road.
Though, to be fair, we didn’t imagine that we would give many people directions to this house. It was going to be our space where we could hunker down and never leave. We would sit there all day long and make art and just be together. It was the dream.
We didn’t buy that house, even though it was on 5 acres and had an awesome workshop that Chris could’ve used for his business. I don’t really remember the address, and since it sold, I feel weird posting it on my blog, lest the current owners stumble upon this page and see some weirdo fetishizing their home. So, instead I’ll describe the thought process that went into wanting this home.
Firstly, we want out of the house we’re in. Or, we did more so then than now. Now, we’re kind of resigned to this fixer upper that neither of us have the energy to fix up. We’ve started a million renovation projects though. And maybe someday they’ll even be finished. Until then, we are coming up on year 6 with a hole where the fireplace ought to be.
Secondly, we like the idea of having a bunch of land, but not enough to actually purchase it. The 3-bedroom house sat on 5 acres, and only cost $135,000. (We probably should’ve bought it, but then we’d have a house in Newalla. Which we totally don’t, regardless of what this post title says.) I liked to think about Rosie running around those acres and getting to stretch her doggy legs. (Never mind the fact that her doggy legs generally can’t be bothered to stretch themselves across the backyard we have that is about a quarter of an acre.) I imagined we’d have to keep a .22 by the backdoor, just to shoot at rabid raccoons and maybe at really big spiders. It’s the country, after all.
But we didn’t buy the house. It looked weird, not in a bad way, but in a way that wasn’t us. And let’s be real. I’m from Edmond, Oklahoma. I cannot do Newalla. (No offense, Newalla. You have a lot to offer. But you’re really not good for my personal brand.) But here I am, two years later blogging about a house that we just kind of looked at on the internet.
On the way home from OKWB Mini-Con, my friend Mari and I were talking. She mentioned that she loves living out in the boonies now, because she gets to stay home. It’s her space, and it’s not like she can just hop in the car and trek across town real quick. Her new house is far enough away that it’s not really convenient for her to just drop everything and be social.
Alarms went off in my head.
I told Mari about our Newalla house. I told her how we watched it online and seriously considered it. I told her that I wish we would’ve bought it so I could have a reason to stay at home and work or spend time with Chris and Rosie.
Then, while keeping her eyes on the road as we made our way west on I-40, she kind of laughed and said, “So, you want an excuse to stay home, even though you already can?”
(Mari is a wise woman, and was super down to get Buffalo Wild Wings in Muskogee. I suggest everyone get a Mari in their life, if just so she can drop knowledge like her statement above and encourage you to eat fried cheese post-blog conference.)
After she said that, it became obvious that I felt like I needed an excuse to stay home and work on writing. The fact that I’ve been dedicated to it as a career since the second grade wasn’t enough. The fact that I would prefer to do it over generally going out didn’t matter. Deep down in my people pleasing soul, I thought I had to have an excuse to not attend social functions. I thought I needed distance in the form of the miles that separate east Cleveland County from the civilized world.
So, for now, I’m building a Craftsman-style home in the Newalla of my soul. It’s nothing like the weird, pyramidal A-frame house in Newalla we looked at, though it does have the same old school wood burning oven thingy in the living room, just for funsies. It’s got dusky gray paint on all the walls, and it’s full of brown leather club chairs for reading, as well as cabinets stocked up with Waterman ink for my pens. Chris and Rosie are there too, for when I need to binge watch Indiana Jones movies to fill the inspiration well, or for when I need to sip red wine and talk about nonsense.
Retrospectively, I realize that living out in Newalla wouldn’t give me the sort of laser-focus I want. I would still be distracted. As long as I have a cell phone or Twitter or Netflix, there will always be distractions. But that isn’t always a bad thing. I can only produce so many quality words in a day, and then I generally hit a point where everything I write is pure nonsense. So I have to stop. That’s when a I need to be distracted by a local Twitter feud that has fun amok all over my feed, or when I need to sit down and watch seasons one and two of Peaky Blinders for the seventh time. (I’m not kidding. I’ve watched through that show six times already.)
But what I need to watch out for is the distractions that are disguised by good intentions. It’s all well and good to go out for drinks with friends, and it’s something that I generally say yes to without actually thinking about it. After all, who doesn’t want to catch up with people they love and haven’t seen in a while? But generally, I will do that, and then realize that I’ve got 16 nights out planned for one month, and that doesn’t even take into account all the spur-of-the-moment outings that crop up. I’m not saying I’m insanely popular. I just know a lot of people from the various seasons of my life. This is what happens when you’ve been through three degree programs and switch jobs almost every year. You get to know a lot of people.
So while I like to go out with people, I don’t think I would have 16 nights out planned if I had a house out in Newalla. That’s why I’m building a house in the Newalla of my soul — so it’s easier to say no to dinner and drinks.
I worry a lot about hitting the publish button on this post. Again, I’m a people pleaser through and through, so the idea of prioritizing me over others makes my skin crawl. And it’s not that I dislike any of my friends. It’s more that I just need to focus. Every hour away from my new house out in Newalla is an hour that gets taken away from writing. And if I’m being honest, I wasted too many hours in my twenties. I have to make up for it now.