In search of "Cobble Court," the little house of author Margaret Wise Brown. The house now "lives" in the artistic and exciting Greenwich Village in NYC.
Ahh, here it is. Cobble Court (original cobblestones in courtyard) is a funky, lovable, 200 year old farmhouse that was moved from its Upper Eastside site (where it was scheduled for demolition) to the corner of Greenwich and Charles in Greenwich Village.
Sometimes you just need to step back, gather your wings, and think about life. That is what I've been doing (in answer to your wonderful inquiries). I am also finishing my children's historical novel and preparing for an upcoming appearance in Minnesota and an oncoming book tour. For those of you who live in the Boston area, I will be doing a special bird presentation for children at the Boston Public Library (see upcoming appearances link). Come see me and bring the kids!
My garden flourishes and keeps me busy. I've harvested apricots, nectarines, artichokes, peaches, lemons, limes, citron, Kafir lime, kumquats, tangerines, blueberries, figs, and of course lots of herbs. During my times outdoors, I reflect on life and how I (a country girl at heart) ended up in a real city (albeit a small one). I once commented to Jeff that I couldn't work and live in a city, and he said, "Make your own paradise," which is what I've tried to do.
I love to visit the homes (the Paradises) of authors and artists. Some of my favorite trips have been to Monet's home in Giverney, the apartment of Gertrude Stein in Paris, Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Missouri, Rudyard Kipling's home, the home of Thomas Hardy, the farm of Beatrix Potter, Willa Cather's home in Red Cloud, and her original home in Virginia, Hemingway's hang-out in the Keys, Carl Larsson's home in Sweden, Audubon's home, Celia Thaxter's island haunt, Sarah Orne Jewett's home, Louisa May Alcott, Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau's homes, and Emily Dickinson's home in Amherst, Mass. Oh, to stand at her desk and gaze out the wavy glass of her window, the exact view she studied for years. The list of author-artist homes is endless, but I especially loved finally finding the little house so beloved by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Wise Brown.
Jeff and I had a celebratory luncheon in NYC with my beloved editor Ruth and Peter Workman, founder of my favorite publishing firm Workman Publishing. After lunch, Jeff and I set off in search of the home of Margaret Wise Brown, author of more than 100 books for children, probably most famously the author of Good Night Moon and The Runaway Bunny, (but The Little Island and some of her others rank near the top for me).
Imagine living on the Upper East Side of NYC in a tiny, picturesque, funky, 200 year old farmhouse on a cobblestone courtyard. Huge buildings loomed above the farmhouse, and the din of traffic and commerce swirled around it twenty-four hours a day. How could anyone stand to live there in the midst of the congestion, noise, and passersby? Luckily, one special lady not only lived there, but also found the peace and stimulation to create a host of some of the world's most cherished books.
I had just finished reading Awakened by the Moon, a bio of Margaret Wise Brown, and told Jeff that I couldn't leave NYC without finding Margaret's "Cobble Court." It had been scheduled for demolition, but was saved by a caring couple who purchased the little building and moved it (and all the cobblestones) to the corner of Charles and Greenwich in the Village. Thank goodness and thank them.
Big buildings still loom over Margaret's little "Cobble Court"
The owners erected a wide iron gate so that "passersby would not have to crowd into a small space." Very kind and much appreciated.
I am in Heaven
Let me in, let me in. A pitiful plea.
Lucky for me, the authorities were not alerted that a crazy woman was lurking outside the little farmhouse.
So, what is the point of this ramble about author's homes? I suppose the point is that Jeff is right. "Make your own Paradise." Wherever you live, you can create your own world– you can write, draw, make music, throw pots, garden (even if it is in a coffee can). You can be YOU, and you are one-of-a-kind, just like Margaret Wise Brown.
"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark."
Agnes De Mille
Joys to you all and remember to make your own Paradise,