“Why don’t you write more?” he asked. Encouraging words. I never knew he read my essays. I smiled and said thank you, really meaning it, but uttering the words so quickly the gratitude could have been mistaken for lack of appreciation. I couldn’t begin to answer the question that evening as all hell would have tumbled out in an emotional heap by the reception desk. So I carried the kindness with me as I left the office, a gentle push to return to the keyboard.
Virgina Woolf writes, “a woman must have…a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”[i] For me it is nonfiction and a window, not even a room.
I just need a window. A window of time and quiet, no errands to run, meals to cook, calls to return. Where is it? When will I find it?
Sometimes I have that window, and even a room. Quiet time, yes, often painfully so, my children’s feet running through their father’s home, but their boots stand at my front door, lined up neatly like sentinels protecting that window — the empty couch, the computer.
Even then, sometimes the window is stuck. Then I need permission – permission to wrest it open, that is, to actually stop and sit. I know, I know, the permission is from myself: yes, you can sit down long enough to write, to let thoughts and images connect, long enough for flow.
And sometimes it’s held shut — the noisy world, pulls of the generations, stresses and worries, things that adhere and don’t easily move. Inspiration and flow are visible on the other side but elusive to my touch. Some days I wrestle to open it, knowing that that victory will nourish my soul. Others I’m too exhausted to try, longing for a magic wand to open the panes, to let in words and thoughts and soothe the soul.
And then there are days that others open it for me.
[i] Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own (p. 1). NTMC. Kindle Edition.