We have to be out of our flat in two weeks. We are surrounded by a swiftly growing assemblage of boxes; they are eagerly closing in on us, covering pathways, blocking the easiest routes of egress. Worse still, is their power to sap me of my will to write. As they increase in number and size, my ability to function as a creator decreases accordingly.
Wherever my eyes look, they see chaos: dust, empty shelves, fraying carpet seams. My studio is slowly being denuded of charm and character. I look around and wonder, “How did I ever write in this place? How did I create things of purpose and beauty? Did I?” From certain angles, it just doesn’t seem possible. This indignity, it’s monstrous.
It’s an illusion, naturally. Creative spaces are not enchanted rooms or bewitched nooks. They do not bestow extraordinary abilities on all who enter, but instead offer us serenity or stillness or mental and physical discipline. They are practical, safe places rooted in the everyday needs of difficult professions.
Through this tatty veil, though, a bit of magic shines through. Talismans. Books and other scraps of inspiration: photos, quotes, fancy pens, markers, colourful paper clips, a mountain of notebooks, art, calendars, strange ephemera, re-purposed junk. These are the inhabitants that make my studio what it is: a visually and emotionally appealing sanctuary where work gets done.
This brings us back to the lamentations of the opening paragraphs. The growing starkness of the studio is messing with the normal structure of my days. If it ever came down to it, I could write anywhere and under almost any imaginable circumstance. Write with blinders on, focused, unaffected. Unfortunately, the fact that I do not have to means that I do not have to, will not, cannot. I will struggle on for the next couple of weeks, searching for poise. Ideas piling up in notebooks, phrases and plots reaching the edge of fruition. Waiting. Waiting to be unpacked. Waiting to be developed. Waiting.
“I lived to write, and wrote to live.”-Samuel Rogers
Perhaps those boxes are also a looming reminder that there will be days when you absolutely will not be able to write during the days of moving and unpacking. They will also be a wonderful reminder of what you are – a writer – when you start to unpack and set up your own sanctuary again.
I like your positivity, Judy! It is more than welcome.
Oh, I feel your pain! At the moment we’re just getting started milking goats and planting gardens (because that’s what farmers do in the spring apparently) and while I’m enjoying learning how to make mozzarella cheese my neck is tensing with unrelenting thoughts, “Need to get back to research . . . my writing needs MORE research and when will I get to the library and my internet connection sucks and . . .” Well, you get the point. 🙂 My mother says everything has its time. Mothers.
Aw, that sounds like quite the rural life you are living! Goats, gardens, and cheese. That sounds like a story unto itself. Although your mom is probably right, it is hard to convince one’s brain to put off research and writing. I am not getting nearly enough done right now, which has left me feeling all out of sorts. And I won’t even have mozzarella to show for it!