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The working title is “Wheels”. My neighbors are monitoring my progress. Most think it’s a pretty cool project; one thinks I’m crazy. “You could have bought a trailer for less,” he says. But that’s not the point. There’s something very satisfying about working with your hands. There’s an immediacy to it. If you make a straight cut or paint a straight line, you can stand back and admire your good work — right then. Nailing one board to another produces instant results. I started writing when a woman working for me suggested I needed a creative outlet. I was coming off a four-year project to build what I lovingly refer to as my “beach shack”. I’d spent so many hours in selvage yards and warehouses. Too little money had forced me to ‘make do’, to invent. And for all the stress, I had fun. A writer should write every day. It keeps the pump primed. If I stay away from my imaginary friends for too long, I have to get reacquainted with them. But there are days when the pull to work with something tangible is overpowering. “Wheels” will probably be finished in about two weeks. As of today, only half the roof has shingles. The inside needs insulation; some old redwood fence material that I sanded and coated for flooring still needs to be fitted and nailed into place. But when all is done, I will invite my imaginary friends to visit and enthusiastically return to novel writing.




About Author

Therese Ambrosi Smith became fascinated by a remarkable collection of WWII oral histories at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park, and her debut novel, Wax, was born. Her short fiction has incorporated personal tales of work and travel: climbing mountains, surveying logging roads, designing parks and playgrounds, tending bar and selling fish. She completed the UCLA Writers' Program in June 2009, and is currently embarking on a "tin can camper book tour."