I remember, long ago, reading Virginia Woolf’s book by that title. She surely is not entirely being literal, but today, looking around my cluttered writing area, which is in a room with no door, listening to tiger growls and the tinny clash of swordfight from the television on the opposite side of our house, I chuckled, wondering what Woolf would think of my writing space. It isn’t a room of my own literally, that’s for certain.
I write on my family’s dining room table, which is cluttered with my five-year-old son’s arts and crafts supplies he inevitably forgets to return to that big white bin on the tabletop. Scraps of cut paper, a coil of lime green yarn, nubs of crayons, a couple coloring books, his discarded red cape with its safety-pin fasteners–along with my laptop, a notepad and pen, a basket of knickknack necessities (paperclips, CDs, thumb drives, bits of research)–this is the norm for tabletop contents.
The elliptical trainer in the corner is worth its weight in gold as sometimes the only time I find to exercise is during my two-year-old son’s nap. I hop on the trainer and read a book while working up a sweat–or sometimes I view a television show over the internet as my nights are usually consumed with writing or procrastinating writing by playing computer games and playing with social media. Of course, I find writing impossible if my husband is using that elliptical trainer. (And sometimes for a while afterward, also, but don't tell him.)
Look carefully and you might find my son’s baseball glove that my husband oiled and secured around a ball with a shoestring on the handmade cabinet that came with the house my parents bought when I was a pre-teen. An antique cabinet with lead paint stands at my back.
The room is completely open, missing a wall, as it looks into what I’ve dubbed “the piano room,” for the obvious reason. My sons’ train set pieces litter the floor. Their behemoth rocking horse that the children seem only to want to ride when the other child is on it, resulting in screaming and wailing and (on my part only, I’m certain) headaches, juts out from another corner. He-the horse-is staring at me now, as I type, all four legs impossibly curled as if jumping in fright at a spider crawling across the floor.
So much clutter. So much distraction. It isn’t by any stretch a room of my own. But it’s where the writing happens, day after day. And I think, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. To me and to Virginia.