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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Sunday, October 30, 2005


A room of mom's own

"For it is a perennial puzzle why no woman wrote a word of that extraordinary literature when every other man, it seemed, was capable of song or sonnet. What were the conditions in which women lived, I asked myself; for fiction, imaginative work that is, is not dropped like a pebble upon the ground, as science may be; fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible; Shakespeare's plays, for instance, seem to hang there complete by themselves. But when the web is pulled askew, hooked up at the edge, torn in the middle, one remembers that these webs are not spun in mid-air by incorporeal creatures, but are the work of suffering human beings, and are attached to grossly material things, like health and money and the houses we live in."

Virginia Woolf
A Room of One's Own

Substitute Teacher of the Year Mrs. Peggy Hill had her broom closet turned office in which she wrote her musings, and I too have a room of my own in which I write.

The difference between me and Peggy Hill is that I make my kid sleep in the broom closet; I took one of the big rooms for my own.

Every chance I get during the day I sneak into my room to write. I would like to say that I stride into my room, but I most often sneak. I sneak behind the backs of my children who are playing quietly in the family room or playroom. I sneak so that I have as many minutes as possible to myself before the kids notice my disappearance and start the cry, "Mommy, mommy, where's mommy?" or just the cry as in the plaintive wail of a baby whose just realized that he's been deserted by his best friend.

Sometimes I bring the kids in my room with me. I let them open and close the drawers of my filing cabinet or draw on copy paper or play with the meager offering of toys I keep on a shelf. I don't keep more toys in my room because, well, it's my room, and I don't want it to look like a playroom. Lots of times when the kids are in my room, I know that they're doing something that I don’t approve of, like coloring on the rug or pulling apart a brand new pack of post-it notes. But I let them do those things because it buys me a few more precious moments during which I can write.

At night I no longer watch TV to relax. Instead, I come into my room and write for an hour or two after the kids have gone to bed. Then maybe I'll go watch TV; but some nights I'm too tired even to do that and I crawl into bed dead tired, read ten pages of whatever book is on my night stand, and fall asleep within minutes of closing my eyes.

When the clock strikes 10:00 I turn into a pumpkin.

If you are wondering how on Earth I will find the time to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, I can only say that it will be written in fits and bursts between meals and diaper changes, hugs and play time; and that many post-it notes will be wasted during its creation.

And it will be written in a room of my own, all cleaned up for NaNoWriMo because I can't start any major project without first spending a bunch of time cleaning up my work space.