Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Room Of One's Own

"Her mind was like her room, in which lights advanced and retreated, came pirouetting and stepping delicately,...and then her whole being was suffused, like the room again, with a cloud of some profound knowledge..." - "The Lady in the Looking-Glass"
We're approaching the birthday of Virginia Woolf: January 25th. She wrote about having money and a room of one's own in order for a woman to write fiction. I often think that I fuss and decorate the space I want to write in more than I write. But the underlying connective thread holding my life together between the extremes of solitude and communion is the space I call home. Even if my home is a metaphor for my tendency to concentrate more on straightening and decorating than focusing on content and meaning, I rationalize that it's part of the ongoing attempt to make my actions and lifestyle congruent with my values and vision (after all, here I am writing about it).

By nature of the way society is set up, women struggle to find a way to claim their body, mind and spirit while they coordinate career, family and creative endeavors. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, in Gifts From the Sea says, "The problem is how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel. For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, ranging out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel." Lindbergh's words suggest that women need to give themselves the gift of a place where those elements that create the "balance beam" of life can be realized.
Woolf was able to shut herself off from the outside world in a shed in the garden. It gave her the privacy to think clearly, explore and expand new ideas. In her essay, Woolf comments that symbolically a room of one's own means thinking for oneself.

If you're so inclined, talk about (and/or show on your blog) how your "room" shapes and expresses your consciousness.

This is where I do most of my writing. It's my kitchen counter. Since I knocked down the walls separating my dining room, kitchen and living room, this is the most central area in my home. I think it represents good things to eat, being nourished and sitting up high to overlook my handiwork.

This is my study where I do some of my writing, but since I bought a laptop, I don't use it as much. It represents my best-laid plans which pretty much just lie there catching dust.

I do a lot of writing at the little table where Mom used to eat.

This is where my late-night ramblings get jotted down; where I've written most of my poetry, working from pages of my organizer and scraps of envelopes.


This is how it will look if my home is ever turned into a museum like Virginia Woolf's House.

What kind of space do you work in?
What is your favorite Virginia Woolf quote?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Her left foot turns out slightly
the forward jut of her jaw speaks
in glowing amber

she says this word at ten
and turns onto that street at twelve

there are always 
secret combinations
of numbers
and colors 

He recognizes this and holds
the prongs of each detail
inches away from the alternating
current of public opinion

it’s part of the plot
to get him
so he invents story after story

and always there are secret combinations
a certain number of syllables
with the necessity of emphasizing 
the right one

so he must be vague
precision might unravel the helix
where adenine follows cytosine 
in the seventh strand

he mustn’t unlock doors
through which he can
never pass

but in the end
all sequences seem out of order
so he aligns with
the emission 
of dying photons

kneels by the bedside
he abandoned


by the regular arrangement 
of atoms.

(inspired by Kirks's post)