“…a woman must have… a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” ~Virginia Woolf, 1928
I do catch the spirit of what Virginia Woolf was saying, especially for her context–even while suspecting there have been many a novel composed at the kitchen table, maybe after seeing kids off to school and wiping up the sticky milk.
And I can easily recapture my joyful anticipation setting up my first writing space on the narrow balcony in my new house in the woods in rural Pennsylvania circa 1984. The feeling was much like being pregnant and fashioning a space for the new baby. My friend Mary Rolando, upon hearing that I was ready to start serious writing, went into her closet and hauled out her typewriter in its vinyl carrying bag that had sat unused since college days and gave it to me. That heavy, wonderful machine–not electric, mind you, not self-correcting–barely fit on the old dressing table with its mirror removed and its little bench and its drawers deep enough to hold the ream of paper and box of large mailing envelopes I’d invested in. I was 36 and my youngest child had started kindergarten. The usual agony and ecstasy of the writing life attended me, and when I looked away from the task, I was looking through a skylight above or down at the old upright piano in the corner of the living room. I recall the space as a luxurious necessity and composed my volume of poetry, Spinning with the Spiders, and three short stories. Several submissions were declined and in a few months, I was back in the work force, then moved, then back to school, then my career in special education.
Next, it’s 2001 and a brand new computer at a little desk salvaged from the trash and refinished sitting in the corner of a back bedroom in another new house with a view across the back yard into the woods. Shortly after 9/11, I started Sunday by Sunday there in earnest, after its conception at a Writing for the Church workshop at Lutheran Southern Seminary. Many hard and happy hours in that corner, hours carved out on weekends and holidays and summer break from teaching.
Divorce struck, and I really had a place of my own, a little house. I completed volume one of S by S at my kitchen window on the same refinished desk looking out at the side of the house next door, not a particularly stimulating perspective. Next, I traded in my guest bedroom furniture for a 2-level, 3-section computer table and an ergonomic chair. Buying that chair was like having an addition put on the house. I wrote the second and third books in that nice room and also stretched myself making a video there for my Kickstarter campaign (oh my gosh, you can still see it! click and scroll a bit)–which was successful. Still can’t quite believe that.
When I moved into this house in September 2018, I quickly set up my writing corner. The table holding my laptop is a board with four legs screwed into it. Style: functional simple. View: nature scene across the road in Comer, Georgia. Through last fall, I made more major revisions to Beyond the Gate and resurrected this blog. Still revising (till the last second before publication, I suppose) and querying my heart out, in a literal yet figurative way.
So there you have it. Have what? you might ask. My blog, my Reflections on any given day. That’s what came to me on this given day. If you’re still reading, congratulations. I’m amazed. I always appreciate your responses even as I think this blog is mostly for me, a journal with graphics that I enjoy looking back over. Also, a writing exercise. Seriously, if you let me know that you read this, I will send you a prize, something I think you–you, specifically–will like.
And here’s the question on this given day: Where do you play your dulcimer or paint your pictures or throw your pottery or transform your old furniture or sew your clothing or pillows? Do you have a special space for creating? Or is the kitchen table working just fine?