'When K. had taken out the bucket of dirty water, fetched fresh water, and now began sweeping the schoolroom, a boy of about twelve rose from one bench, touched K.’s hand, and in all the noise said something he couldn’t make out at all. Then the racket suddenly stopped. K. turned. Here was what he had feared all morning. The teacher, small man that he was, stood in the doorway holding an assistant by the collar with each hand. He had probably caught them fetching firewood, for he thundered in a mighty voice, pausing after every word: ‘Who has dared to break into the woodshed? Where is the fellow? Let me crush him as he deserves!’ Here Frieda rose from the floor, which she was trying to wash around Miss Gisa’s feet, looked at K. as if to draw strength from the sight, and said, with something of her old dignity in her voice and bearing: ‘I did, sir. I couldn’t think of anything else to do. If the classrooms were to be heated at all this morning, we had to open the shed, and I dared not come to you for the key at night. My fiancé had gone to the Castle Inn, it was possible that he might spend the night there, so I had to make the decision for myself. If I did wrong you must forgive my inexperience. I was scolded hard enough by my fiancé when he saw what had happened. In fact he even forbade me to heat the rooms early, because he thought your locking the woodshed showed that you didn’t want them heated until you had arrived yourself. So the fact that they aren’t heated is his fault, but breaking into the woodshed is mine.’ ‘Who broke down the door?’ the teacher asked the assistants, who were still trying to shake off his grip, but in vain. ‘That gentleman,’ they both said, and pointed to K., thus leaving the matter in no doubt. Frieda laughed, and this laughter seemed even more convincing than her words.'
Kafka, F., 2009. The Castle. Oxford University Press. (Page 116-117)
Translated by Anthea Bell
If you come across any shed-like writers' places – or any other artists' come to that – that aren't so well known, please let me know. I'm always interested to hear about them. And they can be virtual as well as real!
You can follow Shedman on Twitter @Shedman. Tweets may include the occasional short poem as well as information about what Shedman's doing, where he is and how he's feeling. How interesting is that!
What do you do in your shed?
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'Thank you for your magnificent contribution to Havant Literary Festival's maiden voyage - you were the absolute lynchpin of the programme.
Shedman was the outstanding hit of the Festival; he was both the focal point of the street entertainment and a tangible manifestation of the Festival's aims of connecting with all ages and all sections of the community in interesting and dynamic ways.
He is also a PR dream - there isn't a Press Release in the world that can't be improved by adding "and a poet in a shed" at the end!'
Lucy Flannery Festival Director Havant Literary Festival
Writer, poet and film maker John Davies is the original Shedman. He's inspired by all kinds of sheds – garden sheds and aircraft hangars, shed antlers or skins, shedding tears or shedding light. He’s writing a book about his shed experience and on his travels, researching the subject, he creates residencies and workshops at different events and locations, using sheds as the focus for a unique interaction with people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.