A room of my own.
I has one.
Okay, I don’t love Woolf (I’m willing to give her another chance, largely because she’s a baller feminist icon…and I’ve grown since I decided that she’s not my home girl), but I really like the idea of a space to work. To write, to schedule, to plan. To work. A space of my own.
For the record, Natalie Goldberg (of Writing Down the Bones), who I do love, doesn’t agree: if you want to write, you have to cut through and write. There is no perfect atmosphere, notebook, pen, or desk, so train yourself to be flexible.
I think the two viewpoints coincide. A person needs somewhere to work, somewhere they can work. What that looks like varies. While I agree that flexibility is important and it’s great to be able to work wherever you find yourself with time to work, I think it’s nice to have a home base. So, the flexibility of coffee shop, hotel room, waiting room at the doc’s office, or in your car while the light’s red, and then you come home to your quaint little whatever-works-for-you place of your own.
Last time I considered this, I lived in an apartment. (Some six years ago, or so.) It was a two bedroom apartment, but I didn’t have my own space (the nature of that beast). I felt creatively stunted – mostly because I was not in love with our living space. When we moved into this house, I had an earmarked room. A small not-bedroom/den-ish (because it has no closet) room. An office.
It worked well enough. My desk was there, my computer was there, we put in a few shelves and set some books on them. But I didn’t use it. Not enough. On one hand, I took it for granted. On the other, I wasn’t ready.
Now? I’m not sure I’m ready, but I understand the importance of the space more now. See, I lost it. For three years. Not to anyone, but to things. To boxes and to clutter. After TLM was born, everything else moved in. (Because this: right here.) Unused things, things we didn’t need anymore, transient things that didn’t have a permanent home. The door to the office was closed for a long time, because boxes attract spiders and fuck spiders.
Now my desk faces the window, the surrounding furniture is sparse, and the spider attracting clutter and boxes have been recycled, donated, and thrown out. There’s light, there are pens and pencils and markers (oh my!), there is only one shelf (for writing and doula books – because this is an office and writing and doulaing are my business).
There is baller chi in here now. It feels cleaner, brighter, more alive. I feel cleaner, brighter…more alive…. (I’m writing this from inside said space of my own.)
(Why yes, that IS my doula bug-out bag on the back of the door. And the yellow framed paper is a Pinterest inspired DIY white board – that used to live in my at-work office – that says: Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly. – Neil Gaiman)
How about you? Do YOU have a space of your own? Do you need a place of your own, or do you do better in coffee shops, pubs, and park benches? Are you a bit of both? (I’m a bit of both. This office is going to be great, at least that’s how I feel this week, but I still thrive in local coffee shops. A change of scene is a wonderful thing.)
(I wish I had a before picture to show you guys. It was a fucking mess. Dust and boxes and disorganization and spiders. OMG. Spiders. Alive spiders, dead spiders, abandoned sticky messes of old spider houses. It’s a wonder I re-organized and didn’t burn that mother down.)