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Five Writers and One Theme: Sanctuary : Cover Story

A Wordsmith's World in Malibu

February 11, 2001|TINA ANDREWS | Tina Andrews is the author of "Sally Hemings An American Scandal: The Struggle to Tell the Controversial True Story," to be published this April by Malibu Press. She has been nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for best TV movie or miniseries for the "Sally Hemings" teleplay

One of my fondest memories of growing up in Chicago is the time spent with my father in the workshop he designed and built in our house. Daddy called it "the woodshed," and it was the ideal environment to stimulate his imagination. It inspired him to design all of the unique furniture, architectural details and eclectic artwork that gave our home its distinctive personality. Whenever I'm in Chicago, I go downstairs to the woodshed and recall, with relish and verve, all of our great times together. In this special place, borne of a rich sense of invention and creativity, Daddy helped me plan and realize my writing dreams while I helped him build his own dreams.

Now I have a home of my own, in one of Malibu's sumptuous canyons, and I, too, have designed a unique space borne of creativity. The house was distressed after the landslides of '82, the fires of '93 and the earthquake of '94, but it called out to me, begging me to save it. Indeed, one day something "divine" compelled me to turn down this remote little street so I could happen upon the house--which just happened to be for sale. So I bought it (and the vacant lot adjacent to it), and I continue to be divinely inspired here.

Deciding which room would serve as my writing space was a no-brainer. The sun room, which has become my own eclectic woodshed, is off the kitchen. It overlooks the ocean and leads to the backyard and pool. I draw my strength from nature and grow fruits and vegetables in my garden, including zucchini, cabbage and collard greens. In fact, I write best when I work right after I've tended my garden. I wrote the entire manuscript for my upcoming book, "Sally Hemings An American Scandal" (based on the miniseries I wrote and produced), in this space, as well as two other miniseries.

My office is where I feel most creative. There is an abundance of light in the room, which illuminates several of my own paintings and more than 50 plants. I have an enormous work table I use to sketch or spread out the various photographs I take to illustrate forthcoming books. Since I'm handy with a hammer and screwdriver, (thanks to those days helping daddy), I constructed the distinctive shelving unit that houses my 2,000-plus books. They are my true passion, these books, which now spill from the office into every room in the house.

I firmly believe that there is divine order in inspiration, and my work space is the place where I seek personal connection to a higher power. I pray here, meditate here and seek spiritual answers for life's dilemmas here. So if I were to choose the one place where I feel safe and secure from the carpetbaggers and Hollywood zookeepers, I'd have to say it's in my husband's arms, in my own special "woodshed."

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Copyright 2001 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. All rights reserved.

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