Sunday, August 10, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating in Chaos

Most of us are familiar with the Virginia Woolf quote, “A women must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Well, we immediately know that the money thing has to be thrown out. If we all waited till we were financially comfortable, especially these days, there would be no written words to read. So let’s focus on the room of her own portion.

Has this notion become as outdated as waiting to be independently wealthy? Perhaps the smaller homes in the San Francisco Bay Area have me believing that a tiny corner, behind the living room sofa, with no wall space and stacks of books and notebooks around me, is all I can claim. Actually, I think my work space is pretty sweet. I’m luckier than most in that last summer I broke down and purchased a second computer which replaced the one I use now. I commandeered the old one for myself and set it up in the living room. As it goes with computers I still need to use the new one from time to time - I decided since it had higher graphics and memory that I should store all my digital photos on it alone - and sometimes I happily let other family members use mine.

The family room, where the new computer resides, is a hotbed of activity and noise. Our incessantly barking dog is constantly being let in and out. My son often wants the computer for “Club Penguin” or “YouTube” and when he’s not on it, my teenage daughter is doing the all important virtual world shopping. It became clear to me that my writing aspirations would have a hard time flourishing in such a Petri dish of calamity.

But as I fantasize about an empty nest and extra bedroom in the future, I also realize that I would not be very productive separated from all the chaos that defines my life. I actually like being in the living room with the TV blaring and the dog barking outside. How else would I know to let him in before the next door neighbor complains? If I was in a quiet room with the door shut, surrounded by serenity and calmness, I’d go nuts!

I see myself constantly opening the door, checking in on the kids, following up on strange noises, or just finding out what I may be missing. Sometimes, the private time I spend with my husband is sitting here writing while he checks scores on ESPN. At least we can stop for tiny breaks to have conversations or point things out to each other. My children interrupt me every five minutes with arguments, questions and laughter. Before I know it, they’ll be grown and gone and with them will go most, if not all, of my chaotic life. That will be enough of an adjustment, so I’m not quite ready to hole myself up just yet.

1 comment:

Lauri said...

Collen, my computer is in the corner of our family too. I've tried to isolate myself, but it doesn't work for me. Of course, neither does the chaos that often erupts with the children.