Virginia Woolf once wrote:
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
Of course the social political context of this quotation was completely different but I am shamelessly going to use it as a springboard for a personal observation in the complete narcissistic 21st Century style that bloggers have. ( Let this serve as a disclaimer.)
As you might remember, I have been struggling with this concept of making money as a measure of success. I make enough to live as I wish and I am happy with that. I prefer to measure my life in “happiness in the Aristotlesque sense” and I have been trying to achieve this for a couple of years through the pursuit of writing.
Every now and then I get reflective, evaluate whether I am still doing what I want to do or whether I too have become stuck in a pattern, not by society’s pressures but my own. These periods are enjoyed by everyone nearest to me: “BUT WHAT IF I AM DOING THE WRONG THING?”
It makes for delightful dinner conversation I can assure you: throw in a/several bottle(s) of wine and you got yourself a pity party.
What gets me through is the knowledge that “this too shall pass” – the blessing of growing older is that even if you might not have seen it all, you have seen some form of it. You acknowledge it, let it do its thing and ride it out. Meanwhile you try to sooth a scared soul with other people’s wisdom by reading books and articles or listening to lectures from artists, writers and other interesting folk.
For example: Alice Munro winning the Nobel prize in her 80s (for short stories no less) and seeing a video of Doris Lessing reacting to her own win, a few years ago; seeing East-Asian actors in The Extreme World of Happiness at the National; watching Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmin watched on a random Thursday afternoon because I could; hearing a superb lecture by Grayson Perry on art on Radio 4 over breakfast…
This week I moved into a room that, for the first time ages, felt my own. As I created a work-corner, I realised I haven’t had a desk in my own space for years. This blog has come to you typed from beds, kitchen tables, living rooms and shared workspaces but today I am using my home-office. Catching the last rays of today’s sunlight and surrounded by all the trinkets and mess that got my room nicknamed “The Shanty town”, I am suddenly at ease.
A job, a room and a desk of my own: it’s all I need to write.