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Retired bookseller Chuck Erion builds a room of one’s own for author Erin Bow

Screen shot 2015-12-10 at 4.27.28 PMFormer bookseller Chuck Erion, who co-founded Waterloo, Ontario’s Words Worth Books and now spends his time primarily on woodworking, recently took on a new literary-related project in his retirement: a personalized writer’s studio for Sorrow’s Knot and The Scorpion Rules author Erin Bow.

“I used to rent an office in downtown Kitchener – rather an improbable one, subleased from a pole dancing studio. But we moved this spring, and buying our first house and keeping up with both mortgage and office rent didn’t seem smart,” Bow says. “Despite the fact that the house has all the space we could dream of, none of the space was mine.  I’d grown accustomed to having a space where I am only a writer. It’s hard to write with a kid in your lap, and it’s hard for me to write if the house is a mess. (I will one day write a book entitled My Sense Of Obligation Toward My Dirty Floor Is A Feminist Issue.) The short version is I badly needed a room of my own.”

In stepped friend Chuck Erion, who transformed a shed behind Bow’s new home into a writing room over the course of just more than a month. Erion worked tirelessly raising the building and lifting the ceiling with new joists, replacing doors and windows, refinishing siding, and adding heating and electrical, as well as insulation. Bow, her daughters, and her mother helped out with interior finishes.

“I work about half-time, keeping up with two fitness classes and a two-lecture series a week. I found the job both physically and mentally challenging and am quite pleased with how it turned out,” Erion says.

Bow has already starting using the space, completed earlier this week, to work on a new book with an imminent deadline.

“I’m actually writing you from my shed just now. It’s my third day using it,” Bow says over email. “Chuck put in a floor on Monday, and on Tuesday I moved in my desk. I’ve already edited seven chapters out here!”