Virginia Woolf wrote in her essay, “A Room of One’s Own” that in order to write fiction, women must have a room of their own and money.
What would Virginia think of my current set-up? I work at the dining room table on our open concept main floor. My chair impedes the traffic flow of the transportation link between the front and back doors. My children rush to and fro inadvertently tripping over the chair and occasionally knocking into me. The television blares not six feet from where I sit. The table upon which I write is piled high with bills and the paper detritus of our lives.
Monday to Friday, this arrangement works fairly well from about 9 am to 3:30 pm when the kidlets are at school. This is my “prime time” for writing. After 3:30, I no longer sit at the table but can usually be found somewhere between kitchen or television, preparing snacks and yelling (to reprimand or to greet, depending).
I have long pined for a writing space to call my very own. Pining has gotten me nowhere. I’ve worked everywhere from the floor of the master bedroom closet, inhaling the scent of my husband’s shoes to my current crowded dining table. I’ve even worked in bed when I could find no other option. Working on my laptop from my bed has proven to be the most annoying work station – for others. They assume I’m being slothful; I know they are just jealous.
Of course, I’d love to have a “proper” writing studio, preferably about 50 miles from my house but in a pinch, the backyard would do nicely. Sometimes I look longingly at our garden shed and wonder if the spiders and raccoons would be willing to share it with me. I stubbornly believe that for me to get any real work done, I must be separate from my house, from all of the things in the house that tear my attention away from the task at hand. At the very least, I need to have a room with a door that shuts and locks.
My fantasy writing studio would be a wooden “bunkie” on the shores of a large body of water. It would be painted white inside with long windows that let in the sun. There would be a desk for writing on, a small sofa for reclining on (to think, of course). A ceiling fan would whir softly at the peak of the cathedral ceiling. OUtside, trees would sway gently in a perpetual soft summer breeze, the water would lap gently at the shore in a hypnotizing rhythm. The snack fridge would hum quietly in the corner, filled with healthy snacks and spring water. And, maybe some wine.
I take a moment to dream and then, reality strikes. I sit and type with one hand as I try to eat a sandwich. I try to tune out the Disney Channel on the TV. I get up and look longingly at the garden shed when suddenly I notice a large furry raccoon on the roof. She stares at me for a moment then turns her back on me and settles her rotund self more comfortably on the rough shingles. In the tree next to the shed, I see the small forms of her babies. Mama raccoon has told me, in no uncertain terms, “Get yourself a closet, honey. This is my shed and I’m not sharing.”