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Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Room of One's Own

Photo by Laura Bear
As I wait, I continue to write. Rejection is hard to take, but it hurts less while I am working on other projects. Four swift rejections. Does that mean the ones I haven't heard from offer more hope? The longer the wait, the more they contemplate? At least, that's what I am choosing to believe for now. In the meantime, I am working on my next novel and those two short stories. Perhaps I should write more nonfiction articles and try the magazines. Alas, I am compelled to create fiction at present.Virginia Woolf was right, it's important to have at least a space of one's own to commune with the muse. I am fortunate that we were able to transform the smallest bedroom into an "office." A friend built shelving/desk units to match the desk already there. There are bookshelves on the opposite wall as well. A filing cabinet. A couple storage units with drawers in the corner. Notebooks to record my thoughts. Windows that overlook the garden in the backyard. It's not quite as neat as it was in the photograph.

Most important is what's on the shelves and walls. Posters from music events and trips we enjoyed, beloved books, handmade pottery (more has been added since the photo), a framed quote with a black and white picture of a solo canoe: The thoughtful soul to solitude retires. Stones and crystals to encourage mystical powers. Photographs of family and favorite photos my spouse and I took of wildlife. (Not the partying kind, the actual wild kind). The bears that visited our birdfeeder a couple Junes ago, a peregrine falcon, a goldfinch. Things I love. Things that inspire in the hope of tempting the muse. My muse is mysterious and fluctuating. I don't know the gender of my muse. Sometimes she is a lovely woman with flowing hair, sometimes an old hag, sometimes a man who strangely resembles Stephen King, sometimes my muse is a child, playing hide and seek. I become frustrated with this changeling when I can't capture an idea on the page. If only it was more reliable.

It is difficult to write great sweeping works of art when one works full-time to make a living doing something else. Yet, it is life that allows me to write at all. Experiences are the stuff of story. Mining the ideas can be daunting, but having a room of one's own, even a shared one, allows me to explore those ideas in relative peace. A cat may walk across my computer keyboard. The dog may bark. My son may call from Minnesota. My husband may want to spend some time with me. But, the space is there, even when I have to fight for it. It is worth it.

May you find your own space.