When I first started writing I was determined to create a ‘me’ space, a place where I could be shut away from the noise and needs of the kids, of my husband. Not in a selfish way, but it seemed to be the only way that I could clear the clutter from my mind in order to enter the worlds of my story people and hear what they had to say.
Writing is not a matter of time, but a matter of space. If you don’t keep space in your head for writing, you won’t write even if you have the time. –– Katerina Stoykova Klemer
I went to Ikea, bought a swanky white table, set it up in the spare bedroom. I chose a chair. Everything was all set, I had my own private place to write. I sat and stared at the keyboard, feeling very smug that the world could continue to spin outside the bedroom door and I wouldn’t care or be pulled by its magnetism back into reality.
Then, nothing happened.
The kids were too quiet and the house on the other side of the white door became a whole new world of which I was no longer a part. What were they up to? Was I being selfish as a mum in removing myself for an hour or two? Guilt crept in and wagged its finger in my face. I couldn’t concentrate because the shut door was always there: a barrier between them and me.
Gathering up the plethora of writing essentials (chocolate, drink, phone in case of emergencies that never came, laptop, notebook and pen), I plonked them unceremoniously down on the dining table. Our dining room is actually just an open space that nestles between the kitchen and hallway. It is the arterial route through which our family pulses in constant quests for snacks and drinks and homework. I found that I relaxed in spite of, or perhaps because of, the constant throughput of children. I was visible if not entirely approachable.
That was a few years ago, and the reason that I write this now is that today my table is going. The worn stain where my constant cuppa has sat beside me. The hours and hours and hours spent sat at it, tapping away. The seedlings of stories that were nurtured right there.
Going. My table is going and it could be loved or chopped up as firewood. I realise though, that it doesn’t matter. It never mattered. Space isn’t found in furniture, in a room, in our environment. Space is inside our minds and we have the ability to withdraw into it if we allow ourselves to.
Where do you find space to write or simply to be ‘you?’ Let me know in the comments.