The case for writers needing space
I have a problem with sharing. Everyone I have ever known can vouch for this. When I was thirteen, I had to share a bed with my nine-year-old sister when we were living in a rental house in Florida. We both agree it was the most challenging phase of our sisterhood. I have found it to be much easier to share a bed with my husband…and our three full-grown labs (thank you good, sweet Lord for the creation of the king-size mattress). We unfortunately have to share a bathroom, however. I say this is unfortunate because we are both mirror-hogs. We have given up trying to shower together to save time: for me, the water temperature must be at least scalding hot; for the freak I fell in love with, it must be ice cold. Early in our relationship, he bought a two-seater kayak and we drove each other crazy for hours negotiating—or, more accurately, arguing—over who should be in charge of steering.
Fortunately, the freak—I call him Jacob or honey, depending on what I want—soon discovered after I moved in with him that I would have to have my own space to work. He immediately went to work carving out a section of our humble abode (where, alas, space is limited) just for me. This space has just enough room for my filing cabinet, a small desk, a cushy, rolling chair, and a large bookcase my forever-helpful honey built.
I share my space with a stackable washer/dryer. There is no door to separate it from the rest of the house so there is no way to shut out noise when we have visitors. And visitors are many when you live right next door to your in-laws and your spouse is the second youngest of six—my God, the nieces and nephews are endless! Thankfully, all I have to do to tune out the noise is fire up the washer/dryer and pretend to ignore everyone. As an added bonus, I get the laundry done while I’m at it! It just never gets folded and put away where it belongs.
In my space, I have created my own little personal world. My collection of Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks books is close by if I need a distraction. In my space, John Mayer is always there in my Windows Media Player when I need him to serenade me. In my space, there is a window that overlooks a flowerbed where my four rose bushes grow—in spring and summer months, my honey brings me blooms so the fragrance is always there for me to enjoy. In my space, motivational quotes and pictures of loved ones surround me. In my space, there is most often a sweet, trusty dog—or two…or three—sleeping at my feet and keeping them warm.
In my space, there is a printer that has become the bane of my existence. In my space, a feud breaks out between me and technology whenever this particular piece of machinery decides to have an attitude. In my space, I spend hours spilling my imagination into the pages of Microsoft Word documents. In my space, I worship the small area of my desk where my laptop computer hums productively every day, rain or shine, ready to work.
I feel I must tell you about this personal, miniscule corner of the world because, if not for my honey’s reverential foresight in making it for me, I think I would have mentally cracked by now. I have nothing against the man I call my husband or the family members that continuously march in and out of our home as they please. But I must cite the great Ms. Roberts to help me explain: “Writers, at least this writer, can be moody, self-absorbed, absentminded, and inexplicably cranky.” There are times I must be separated from the people I love not just for the sake of my own sanity but for their personal safety as well. Without this tiny space for me to go to be these ugly things—and, yes, sometimes it does get ugly—I would have become the fanatical lunatic I fear everyone already thinks I am.
Thus, I—and, for all the doubtful spouses out there, my husband—highly recommend a personal space—even a wee one—for every writer to go for those times we feel we must simply get away.
My space is the greatest gift the man I love has ever given me.