According to Virginia Woolf, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” I agree, and now, I have a room. Someday, the money will follow.
My family lives in a four-bedroom house, and with my oldest daughter in college and a teen-age son living with his father in the Midwest, I have a room all to myself. It feels like such luxury.
Before moving here, we lived in a three-bedroom house and my “office” was in a corner of the bedroom. Here, I stuffed a desk, computer, printer, bookshelves. Well, you get the idea.
I didn’t know it then, but I was in good company. Stephen King wrote Carrie on a child’s desk in the laundry closet. Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 at his local library, plunking down 10 cents for 30 minutes of time on a rental typewriter.
My room is full of my favorite things: my books, pictures of my children and their artwork, and exotic angels suspended from the ceiling. The “Happy Light” sits next to my desk. A lack of light worsens my moods, particularly the dark ones. I strung a set of white Christmas lights around the window. They are meant to be playful, a reminder that I’m suppose to be having fun when I write.
Around me are cues to what I’m currently working on. I have cut-out photographs of BF Amigo, a black Arabian gelding, from the cover of Modern Arabian Horse. This is how I envision Chief. Yellow Post-it notes surround my monitor with names of songs that elicit the perfect emotion for whatever scene I’m writing. Sometimes, the songs birth the scene. Mark O’Connor’s song “Emily’s Reel” prompted the scene in which my main character, Josey, plays with Chief. I’ve often wondered if readers would like a CD with the songs I listened to as I wrote a particular book. I’m tempted to put a list of the songs at the back of the book, a musical appendix of sorts.
Of course, the office doesn’t really belong to just me. In a futile effort to make more room in my son’s closet for all of his toys, I moved his bookshelf and all of his books into my office. Now, he calls this room “the library.”
I can’t keep the cat out. When I leave the house and am convinced she’s on the right side of the door, I look up and Ruby is in the window, waving good-bye to me. Darn cat.
My son, Benjamin, and my oldest daughter will visit over the Easter holiday. We can’t wait! My youngest son, Jack, counts the days. Then, the fourth bedroom will revert to its true purpose, and Ben will sleep here. My husband and I will move my desk to the corner of our bedroom. But perhaps that’s as it should be. As King says, “put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”
Ruby keeps my chair warm for me. She’s thoughtful in that way.