The space to write – both metaphorical and literal

Every writer needs a room of one’s own. Or rather, two rooms – I assume Virginia Woolfe wasn’t writing in her bedroom.

For the last 10 days I’ve had those rooms. More than one! All for me! No one else around! In the words of my rugby friends – How Fucken Good!*

It’s been fantastic for my writing. For various reasons this summer has been a time of stress, sickness, and frustration, which are not conducive to writing. In fact, the only reason I was even able to enjoy this time of solitude is because I got evicted and had nowhere to live for two weeks.

I escaped to the family bach – a three-roomed weatherboard affair on the western side of Lake Taupo. I have only been bothered by one relative (given my family, that’s impressive) and quite a lot of bugs.

It takes time to wind down after a period of prolonged stress. Time for your lizard brain to realise that you can actually leave your bedroom without having to deal with people who don’t like you. Time to understand you have a bit of space all to yourself.

And with that little bit of extra space, that extra room to relax, I’ve been able to get creative.

See, I like working at home, but not in my bedroom. At home I have snacks, and a ready supply of bubbly water. I can wander around aimlessly touching stuff when I want to think. I can pop my joints as loudly and as often as I need without people wincing. I don’t need to shower, change out of pyjamas, or put on a shirt. And a day spent shirtless is a day well spent.

But it’s harder to do that when you live with other people – particularly flatmates who want to watch reality TV and don’t like it when you touch their stuff in your creative fugue. Flatmates tend to insist on shirts. (Well, some of them. Others are more enlightened.)

So that just leaves my bedroom, which is not a great space for working. Not only does it fuck up your sleep, but your bed is always right there. And given I prefer to be horizontal whenever possible, it gets harder and harder to resist the siren song of a squishy mattress. Plus when you spend literally all your time in your bedroom it starts to feel like less of a choice and more of a compulsion.

Sadly, I cannot stay at the bach forever. Tomorrow I have to drive back north and move in to my new flat, where once more I’ll have the choice of living solely in my sleeping cell, or organising myself enough to go somewhere outside the house to work.

If I do the latter, I promise I’ll wear a shirt.

*The punctuation of the saying ‘how good’ always makes me pause**, because it’s a rhetorical question, and also a statement which kind of answers that rhetorical question. Note to anyone unfamiliar: the answer to “How Good?” is always “Very Good”.

**I changed the punctuation of the sentence three times.