Monday, June 27, 2005

Space/Time of One's Own

Geeky Mom posts over here about the need for a space of one's own:

And I bang my head against my desk in shared pain.

While the kid was gone, recently, and mr. delagar was spending eight or nine hours a day up in Fayetteville, studying German prior to taking his language qualifiers, I had -- imagine this -- the house to myself.

I had space and time to myself.

This is something I had not had since before the kid was born.

I woke up at six, I made coffee, I drank coffee, I listened to music, I wrote, I surfed blogs, I wrote some more, I wandered the house, I did a little laundry, I ate a bagel, I wrote some more, I drank more coffee, I wrote some more, for hours. I did some of the best writing I have done in years. I haven't been immersed in my writing like this since -- well, yes, since before the kid was born. I had forgotten writing could feel like this.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I love the kid. I love mr. delagar. They are the light of my life. I am not saying I don't want them around. Heavens no. Might be saying I'm a bit conflicted, sure. If you're not, I have a nice crisp certificate that I can send to you, suitable for framing, which should arrive in four to six weeks.)

The fact is, I need -- maybe all writers need, but clearly I need, and Geeky Mom appears to need -- space, and time, in which I can be left entirely and wholly alone, for as long as I need to be left alone, to work.

I had been trying, for the past seven years, to work in tiny bits of time, half hours here, forty minutes there, between pouring glasses of milk and making pots of soup there and scrubbing the kid's face now and finding mr. delagar's keys then. But good heavens. Who can find their way into a fictional universe, who can immerse themselves into writing, when at any moment someone is going to come wandering in and say, hey. Hey. HEY. Do you know where the remote is? Do you? Huh?

Or: I can't find Hank! Where's Hank! I need Hank!

(Hank: a small stuffed dog without which the kid cannot survive eleven and a half minutes.)

Try writing Middlemarch under those conditions.

So what is the solution?

Outside of that convent in Canada, I mean.


zelda1 said...

That space of my own was heavenly, that is while I had it. It was let me see, back in 1999 for about a year, then he moved his computer into my office. Now, when I am writing or reading or just pontificating, he comes in with all rights since his computer is right next to mine. I get frustrated. Now for that time of my own, I must get up around four or so in order to not be imposed upon. Sometimes, the coffee is so nice and the sunrise so beautiful that I just want to do it alone and feel it without having to comment on it. That's what Mr. Zelda1 wants, comments. Comments about everything, what are you thinking, what are you reading, what are you doing? It is depressing hearing all those what are you things. The sun is rising, the coffee is hot, and I am going to watch and hopefully he won't wake, the grandson won't wake, and if all goes well, I'll have a few moments of peace.

bitchphd said...


Diane said...

I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but there are no children living in this house, and I can't get anything done. It is because I have become undisciplined and easily distracted. How can I get any new short stories or poems written (not to mention thinking of returning to writing the n___l (can't use the word) I began about 6 years ago) when I have a blog? A garden? A season of Grand Slam tennis to watch? A stack of books I should have read months ago? A stack of flms to watch that I can't seem to get around to, either? Two cats who want me to play mouse tag?

Trina said...

No solutions, only commiseration. Something else always has to suffer, or the kids/husband/cats/housework have to be ignored, in order to do The Writing Thing. At least the husband has picked up a hobby which, while expensive, at least keeps him from being in my space for a portion of daylight hours, although just as I typed that, he interrupted me by saying that I "have" to come and see this new Capitol One commercial . . . Funny how he feels free to interrupt me with any inane thing at any time, while if I even walk into the room while he's reading his e-mail, I get the Black Look. On the other hand, it's only a short while til Thing One is back in school, and this year Thing Two will be spending some time in preschool. I'm hoping I remember to use my precious time productively.