Virginia Woolf said that a woman needs a room of her own if she’s to write fiction. I’m privileged to have such a room. It’s a snug space that accommodates a desk and chair, a book shelf, and a sofa table. There’s enough space along the centre of the room to roll out a yoga mat and meditate in front an antique stand made by my great grandfather. Through the window this morning, I see espaliered plum trees growing alongside a sprawling elderberry bush.
I promised myself a tidy office last week. This I say with a giggle and my palms raised to the sky. Putting things in order is always something I’d like to have done, but never seem able to do—at least not until the floor is so populated with book mountains and paper stacks that it’s barely visible.
The state of this creative space is a reflection of my mind. When the busyness of projects come to a crescendo—whether completing a novel manuscript, writing an essay, preparing for a public speaking engagement, orchestrating The Wild Nellies events—ideas are zinging through my head left and right. I’m forever surrounded by a growing collection of brainstorming notes, correspondence, research articles, and books that are integral to my creative process. A staunch organizer might suggest that these piles are a distraction, but my biggest eurekas happen when I glance away from what I’m supposed to be working on. My gaze lands on the ebb of papers and books meant to support a different project, then new ideas burst like popcorn in hot butter.
Last week, I completed the manuscript for my second novel which now awaits my editor’s capable eye. I shelved the research books and filed my notes. And now there is space for my third novel to take root and for me to consider how to navigate the new normal going forward with The Wild Nellies and other projects. There’s a shift in the universe and we must shift with it.
So, cheers to the constantly advancing and receding flow of scribbles, diagrams, notes and text that circle my chair. This physical space is a barometer of creativity. As my mind fills, so does my room.