The household, once home to two adults, four closely spaced children (a set of twins included), and assorted pets is now classified as an “empty nest.” The adult children have followed their lives, one to the East Coast, one to the West Coast, one to the South, and one to the next suburban city. This leaves us with three empty bedrooms: one has become an official guest bedroom with some nice furniture in it; one is temporarily a catch-all room during this transition time but dreams of being a second guest bedroom; and one is now my room.
I have officially laid claim to the smallest bedroom; it is now my personal and private writing space. No more dining room table for me. No more distractions of the murmuring television down the hall. No more the barking of the dogs as a leaf blows past the house. The kitchen is now more distant (a good thing). The woosh of cars on the street out front is only a memory. The thunk-thunk-thunk of the neighbor boy’s basketball on his driveway, gone from my hearing. The busy to-ing and fro-ing of the dogs about the house now beyond my observation. Ah, solitude. Ah, quiet. Ah, the hard-to-quantify, ineffable sense of having a place of my own, for my writing. For me.
My teak writing desk (actually a repurposed dining table — my escape is not fully complete you see) sits in the center of the room. (I cannot write facing a wall immediately in front of me.) I am surrounded on three sides by bookcases, including a monstrously heavy, glass-fronted, solid oak behemoth that my son made for me in shop class back in high school. I have various paintings on the walls, including several by my daughter, and two prints of Don Quixote — something of a perfect metaphor for anyone with writing ambitions, no? The carpeting, after 24+ years of use, needs replacing, but the money for that is not handy at the moment. And the walls would have benefitted from some spackling and a new coat of paint, but my impatience carried the day. (Also, my son from the South surprised us with a visit over the recent holiday weekend, so I had the heavy lifting capacity I needed to get the furniture from here to there. I wouldn’t have that opportunity again for a while, so in I moved.) I’m not fully moved in though. Many of the files and books and paraphernalia of my past writing “office” — a small alcove in the master bedroom — are yet to be moved, but I want to be judicious about that, tossing what is not needed, moving what is needed but then placing it at hand or out of the way as appropriate. No rush.
I tend to do my writing in the early morning hours, but my hope is that now that I have this new seclusion, I can give over more evening hours to the effort, and if not to actual creative work, then more to the housekeeping end of it, including proofing and editing as well as submitting much more. In recent months I’ve written in this humble blog about seeking ways to squeeze more writing time into my life, and securing this room for the purpose was one of those ways.
So here I am. It is a Monday evening as I write this. I sit in quiet, surrounded by warm wood tones. I can hear only the thoughts in my head. I have no distractions. I have created the opportunity for myself that I sought.
This post is the second bit of writing I have done in my new space. The first was a postcard to my daughter (the East Coast offspring), whose room this was in years past. Tomorrow I hope to give myself some time here to chase down more words for my work in progress. I expect great things from myself.