Ever since Virginia Woolf put it out there, a Room of One’s Own has topped most female creatives’ wish list. It’s where one can find solitude, and solitude begets industry. Out of nothing comes something, and that something is art.
At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. If art isn’t happening, perhaps it’s because one of the essential components of a Room of One’s Own is missing.
Own Room Essentials
Creatives need doors. Doors can be shut against the clamour, the persistent insistence of life. A door is an invitation and a rebuff, a beginning and an end. Woolf advocated for doors with locks, to secure one’s seclusion with a satisfying click.
Creatives need their own walls. A Wailing Wall for lamentation, a Whatever Wall for darts or doodles or bigger-than-life mood boards. And while walls are important, corners are absolutely essential. Corners are for prayer or percolation or procrastination. One corner, ‘the corner’, is always preferred. It’s the spot for the battered but cosy armchair, the one that feels like a hug from Gran.
Wishes for the List
- A cosy armchair.
- Abundant nooks and plentiful crannies. Or, at bare minimum, a stack of shelves.
- Creatives require a generously proportioned, smooth work surface for the sole purpose of losing beneath a drifting pile of stuff.
- Creatives need boxes. (For stuff. See above. And below.)
- They need pens—quality ones, mind. Pencils, lead and coloured; pastels, paints, markers; sticky tape, masking tape, washi tape; a ruler and an endless supply of notebooks in various sizes.
- A typing machine of any description on which to furiously pound.
- An uncosy chair (to use when not praying/percolating/procrastinating). (Also useful for discouraging visitors who don’t get the concept of a Room of One’s OWN.)
- To hold the typing machine and a light, the room of one’s own must have a desk (with a drawer (to store the nail clippers)).
- A window (or two).
- A ceiling to ponder.
- A cobweb to scowl at.
- A creaky floor to pace.
- And last, by the door, a pair of fuzzy slippers, because who can possibly create with cold feet—even in a room of one’s own?
Of course, for time immemorial, women have made or inspired art of all forms without the benefit of a room of their own. I salute all the women who’ve created amidst the persistent insistence of life—whining toddlers, piddling puppies, general busyness and unacknowledged sacrifice. May you find joy and satisfaction in your art and one day close the door of a room of your own.