We live in an older house, the four of us, with little closets and an unheated laundry room. We love Legos and books and warm throw blankets and the electric guitar and skateboarding and drums and photographs and our gigantic cat.
We live fully all over our house. The so-called guest room does have a twin sized bed in it, but also my whole wardrobe, drying racks for the winter time, the aforementioned electric guitar and an amp and our jumbo sized box of oatmeal from Costco. We make space, albeit in strange ways sometimes. We do schoolwork on the dining table, make art there too, create cards and pie crusts on the kitchen bar, crowd on the sofa for video games and studies and Mythbusters and books. Our bedrooms are big enough for sleeping and not much more.
So a room of my own is a place I often have to create between my ears, less bracketed by plaster and lath than by attention and increments of time. I read one more chapter or write a stanza while waiting for the bread to rise, or during independent work time for my home-schooled child. I try to breathe deeply and write in my head while my hands are busy with the warm laundry. I roll out my yoga mat when the boys head for the woods or a Scout meeting. I iron to podcasts or Pandora. I sit quietly and just hold the cat, ten minutes of gratitude for the deep vibration of her contentment.
It is not ideal, whatever that is. And it will not always be as it is, with the noise and the mess and the joy of four people held together by midcentury architecture. I’m greedy I guess, because I want it all, with these boys and this man and their drumming on every surface and their Lego bin dumps and their schematics of skate park plans, and I want quiet and meditation and poetry too.
So every day I’m trying to make room for my room, for my window of time and space, to make what I can of this moment. And though I’m not always successful, I try to do it without resentment of the gloriously crowded now. I pin photos of attic nooks with bright windows and a Shaker table and chair, spare and solitary, but I write from one swept corner here, with the tumble thump of the dryer for a soundtrack, and the timer counting down.
Seeking midwinter inspiration with other good folks
writing along in February at Write ALM