Any writer who is not one of the obscenely, disgustingly, grotesquely rich fabrications of the Manhattan literary celebrity machine, like James Patterson (in actuality a Borg-like hive entity comprising one figurehead and numerous ghostwriting drones) and other signatories of the Authors United petition, will probably care about money. Care quite a lot. They may even have to care about keeping a roof over their head. Enter Techdwell, an Oregon-based company that is busy repurposing miniature high-tech dwellings originally destined for Haiti into housing for the urban poor – which just might include writers.
Currently the focus of a plan to house Portland’s homeless, after the local municipal plan failed abjectly, Techdwell’s Axia micro-homes are environmentally very friendly, utilizing “recycled and recyclable and sustainable building materials. Optional solar pv electrical systems, rainwater collection and gray water reclamation enable units to be independently off-grid. Composting toilets provide for natural human waste management.” They are also incredibly cheap, with starting prices of just $12,500. They’re stackable, portable, but for the solitary working writer in need of a retreat, they look like the perfect option.
Bear in mind that the typical UK author now has a median annual income from writing of $18,834. Suddenly, even the lowliest scribbler can envisage a place of their own, sized pretty right for a single author’s needs. And the Axia home’s size, and ease of DIY construction, both recall writers’ lodges like Henry Williamson’s hut in Devon – albeit with more modern styling. This could be the best thing to happen to writers’ residency requirements since the Write A House scheme in Detroit.
Of course, if you’re James Patterson, you can afford to buy 4779.6 UK authors per year, so you could buy a whole townful of such houses in no time. The James Patterson Writers’ Colony, anyone? I think I’ll stick to the mean streets of Portland …