Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Room of One's Own

Today I rose at six. Usually my sweet patootie gets up before me but I lay in bed for quite awhile considering my day and then thought I couldn't out wait him any longer. I did all the SP things and a few more - put the dog out, opened the coop door for the chickens (they looked at me with great surprise), made a bodum of coffee and did last night's dishes. SP and I have a bit of a war about dishes - I hate the dishwasher and so I do them by hand...especially when it is just the two of us. He loves the dishwasher and thinks I'm weird. Once he asked me if I wanted him to pick out some nice rocks by the river to wash the clothes.
One of the reasons that I got up a little earlier is because I am trying to deal with my office. You see, dear readers, our international student, Felix, is coming near the end of the month and he will have my office as his bedroom. SP and I spent a very satisfying two hours the other day figuring out where my desk is going to go. The choices were limited. It could either go up in our bedroom or down in the downstair's den/rec room/sp's office. If it went in our bedroom, I'd have to move my shrine and also we would be introducing dreaded electronics into our restorative space and I don't like that. I don't even have a clock-radio in there. 
Also, to be considered, is the fact that I MIGHT become a middle of the night writer. It hasn't happened yet but I look forward to the possibility and I'd hate to have it thwarted when it finally occurs. I so admire the middle of the night writers. It is a dream I have that I will be pounding a way at the typewriter (yes, it is a very old dream) in the middle of the night, feverishly working out my magnum opus, a dripolater of coffee by my side (yes, so old you folks probably don't even know what a 'dripolater' is).

In the den/rec room/SP's office scenario there are other problems. Mainly the shuffling around of about five full bookcases. We went through numerous configurations and we did it so nicely - really like grown-ups trying to figure out a problem instead of like bull-moose fighting over territory. Honestly, the UN should have seen it - we'd be hired as consultants in two seconds! We were going to move the tv watching gear to one end and have the two desks at the other. We were going to put the tv upstairs (nooooooooooooo!). We were going to put the couch sideways in the room and move the daybed and take every one of the books out and put them all back in a different place and take apart Ron's desk and put it together. Ron was going to share his desk as he doesn't need one as much as me and that would be fine - nooooooooooooo! We kept civil through the whole thing. We were a bloody marvel. Then we got it!
The daybed (my snore retreat) is coming upstairs to Felix's room. We'll put the new mattress on top of it. If I need to sleep in the middle of the night I'll curl up on the couch at least until we figure something else out.
That means my desk will go under the window at the end of the room. We won't have to move bookcases (well maybe one) or anything else much - just the bed up and the desk down. We're very happy. We haven't done it yet.
A few people have asked me how I'll be able to work without a door to close but I've done it before and really my discipline is very good these days. Many days it will be just me down there - I work mainly in the morning and the kids will either be asleep or at school. Ron likes to tool around in the evening on the internet and I will like sharing the space with him if that is when I do my tooling around too. If someone watches tv (very very rare) then I will be able to do some things but not some others. So it goes.
I like having my own room and I will again but I'm really excited about this experiment we're about to enter into.
Margaret Drabble, I understand, wrote many of her wonderful wonderful early books on the kitchen counter or on the stairs or while washing nappies. Stephen King had the laundry room in his and Tabitha's smallish trailer, up against the washer (hey a theme is happening here). I think the fabulously famous Tartlette writes in the bath (I read there for sure but don't write).
Where do you write and how important is your space?


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think I might be a little envious of your space!

I've trained myself to write on the run so I don't have a space. It does help me to be more productive (because I don't tie my writing into a particular place or time), but it sounds so NICE to have a retreat to run to and write in.

I had a coffeemaker like that in college. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I can write anywhere in the house, but I like my office! Your description reminds me of when we changed my office into a bedroom for foster kids many years ago. My entire office world was confined to one hutch and file cabinet in the media room. Looking around now, I have no idea how I functioned like that for over three years!

RosieC said...

My mom still has a coffee maker like that and sometimes uses it (and I will probably inherit it soon), and typewriters are a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately we have very little space. Right now I write wherever I can, but I don't have a space that's just mine. Living room, dining room, bedroom (although, I could follow the Tart's example of the bathroom, but I really prefer my computer....) are my only choices. It's rarely quiet no matter where I am since we live in the middle of a university neighborhood and people (not to noisy) live in the other half of the house. Hopefully we're moving within the next year, and I've old my hubby, if we get an apartment, it has to be a three-bed so I can have my own office space.

Yes, I am also jealous of your space, even if you are graciously giving it up for your exchange student.

Jan Morrison said...

Elizabeth - oh this is encouraging. I know I've heard you talk about writing on the run but if you don't have a door to close and you have so much productivity - well then I know it can be done! Thank you.
Diane - yes, before we built this home I shared a rec room type space with Ron and I did get quite a bit done. That is how I know I can do it.
Rosie - oh my mom made wonderful coffee with her dripolater. She was a fanatic for good French Roast and I've inherited that love if not the dripolater (don't know what happened to that!) I'm sure you'll get a space of your own some time soon. It is nice but not essential. The only thing essential is pluck. And I believe you are in possession of that.

Michele Emrath said...

For a long time, I have been intending to create a space for myself. Originally, it was half of our huge guest room/office. Then we decided to turn that room into a guest room/bonus room for the kids. So it was supposed to be the sitting area attached to our bedroom. This is a great place, with two bookshelves on one wall, two very comfy leather club chairs...and a lot of pushed-to-the-side crap. Yes, I am a completely messy person when it comes to clothes and papers and books in my room. Drives my husband crazy. Then there's the fact that I couldn't write in the middle of the night here, as my husband would be sleeping just a few feet away! space yet.

What all are you going to do with your exchange student?


Jan Morrison said...

Oh, I'm so jealous you can write in the middle of the night! I don't know why I can't. The space near your husband seems perfect though - maybe your night writing could be on a laptop somewhere else, or long hand?
Felix will be going to the same high school as our kids and we'll trot him around to this and that during the school year. Mostly, he'll just be doing what we do. He'll be the only kid in the house for two weeks of each month so that might be fun. He's from Berlin and into music which we all are so...

Liza said...

I had a corner in the family I sit at a table in the living room...and most times I'm OK...but sometimes I long for a door.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh Liza, I think I too will long for a door even though mine is usually open. I wonder where Dickens wrote in the beginning...I think I need a door and a WIFE! A wife like Mordecai Richler's, who will cook and clean and keep the kids busy and adore me endlessly and think my stinking ways are just the right thing for my brilliance!

Carol Kilgore said...

I've never had a door to close. I've written in the kitchen, on the patio, in a shared space with Live-In Handyman, in the car, and in the living room. All with dogs, kids, tv's, you name it, going at full speed. I'm a little envious.

Helen Ginger said...

I love my office, but, like you, when company comes, I have to abandon it. I move a folding table upstairs, as well as laptop, etc. My company, though, doesn't stay as long as yours will.

Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

I have a laptop, so I tend to write either in the living room or up on my bed. One of these days, I'll have a space :)

Sounds like you've got it all figured out!

Words A Day said...

Will be interesting to see how the change in writing environment affects your writing Jan, it might be refreshing! I hope it is!
I write at the kitchen table, on my laptop. There are no tvs but lots of twoing and froing... One day I may have a room of my own... have a funny feeling I'll still end up writing a lot from my kitchen table!

Ann said...

I write at my kitchen table. I marvel at the civil proceedings. Would have caused WWIII in my house. Well done.

Hart Johnson said...

I love how you liken this furniture moving experiment to a UN worthy event. It's so true, isn't it? Your solution sounds very good and I am excited for you to have an exchange student. I think it will enrich the lives of you an SP and also the stepkids. So good for you!

Cruella Collett said...

Aha! This clarified a lot. Very excited for you - a Felix sounds like a nice thing to have around the house, and he is lucky to have you as his host family I should imagine. My only objection to any sort of exchange programmes have always been that I know some of the hosts aren't as nice to the kids as they should be. I have absolutely no such worries for Felix :)

Good luck in your new writing environment (I've always been a desk writer myself, and never a midnight writer, though I agree with you that I admire them) and with the changes around the home!