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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Room of One's Own

I have no pretensions to be the next Virginia Woolf but that superlative writer wrote an essay on this subject which you can read in full at . In short she said to write fiction, a woman needed money and a room of her own.

I have always had, in one sense or another, a room of my own or should I say, a place of my own where I worked and I could make identifiably MY space. My sons had their bedrooms, my husband his shed and I claimed the room in the house loosely termed "the study". Two and a half years ago I lost that space when my husband's employer unilaterally decided my husband should work from home. I don't propose to go into the fine details of that (still ongoing arrangement) that left my desk stranded on a (large) landing.

I attempted to claim that space on the landing as my own, but nothing I could do altered the fact that it was still a thoroughfare. I mourned for my space and my writing effectively dried up, except, oddly, on those few days when I was home alone and the whole house once more became my space, but crammed into a corner and subject to the continual interruptions of sons and husband was not a good place for a writer.

There are probably those of you who say, a good writer can write anywhere, and certainly when the muse is with me, I could write in a train station in the middle of peak hour, but I need a sense of order around me to get that muse kick started and working on the landing, I never seemed to achieve that sense of physical or mental order.

When I lived in Asia, I learned quite a bit about Feng Shui - certainly enough to know that the basic precepts of not cluttering and freeing up energy lines have some considerable credence. Certainly they do for me!

My eldest son has upped stakes and is travelling overseas for the next year so I, after some basic consultation with him, claimed his room. Over the Christmas/New Year period I painted the room and moved all my "stuff" into it, hung my pictures on the wall and made the space mine. I am not just a writer, I also sew (quilting/ embroidery) and with all my sewing materials pushed into available spaces around the house, I have even felt myself unable to pursue that side of my creativity. Now it is all with me again and I feel the space in my head opening up again.

Along with the space, I have also embarked on some new year's resolutions which I fully intend to keep (and by declaring them publicly - I can keep myself honest!). The first was to undertake one of Margie Lawson's on-line courses on "Beating Self-Defeating Behaviours". Through the course, I have hooked up with a wonderful fellow-writer in Canada, Alice Valdal , to be my change coach. We share a lot in common - including the same self-defeating behaviours.

The second was that old chestnut - exercise! I have given up on the unused gym membership and taken up a programme called "Step Into Life" - group exercise in the great outdoors. With a stressful job and the general pressures of daily life, physical fitness is the most worthwhile investment I can give myself. So keep me honest! Exercising outside is wonderful at the moment because the days are long and the weather is warm - roll on winter and it may be a different story.

Two questions:

1. Do you need a "room of your own"? Or If you have a "room of your own" tell me about it.

2. What new year's resolutions are you absolutely committed to keeping this year?

I look forward to hearing from you.