The Austin Chronicle - Inside REK's inner sanctum, the "Scriptorium"

Some 20 miles outside Kerrville, Robert Earl Keen's Rosetta Ranch spreads serenely across the West Texas landscape. There's little movement or activity on the 500 acres these days, just deer skipping wild and three horses patrolling along the fences.

"I'm not a nut for a horse at all," confesses Keen as he feeds them in the early January chill. "My oldest daughter loves horses, though, and she still comes out here and rides. Otherwise I'd get rid of 'em."

From atop a nearby plateau, a small stone building surveys the property. The Texas Hill Country stretches endlessly into the distance, Bandera beyond the rising ridge, and at night, the faint lights of San Antonio can be seen far to the southeast.

Inside the one-room house there's a sparse essentialness. A stiff, jailhouse-style bed hangs from chains in the wall, and wrought iron rings of western chandeliers provide a dim light that shines off a Terry Allen painting on the opposite wall. With the heavy wooden doors flung wide, an easy breeze fills the room.

The "Scriptorium" serves as Keen's refuge from the road and his writing sanctuary. For days at a stretch, he'll hole up on the ranch immersed in solitude.

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