Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Room of My Own

For all the time we’ve lived in this house – 25+ years – my office has been a small room downstairs, off the laundry room. That’s where my drafting table, desk, and table sat. There’s a big window onto the back yard.

That’s where I wrote my newspaper columns, filed my papers, and scheduled radio recordings. That’s where I did calligraphy, kept my bookshelves, and stored my office and art supplies.

And every time I went down to it, I felt like I was walking down, down, down into a dungeon. Tim would turn the heat on early; didn’t help. It could be toasty down there, but it was still a dungeon. It was light and I had beautiful art on the walls, but it was still a dungeon.

When Sophie was five, we moved her to the neighboring guest room downstairs: a double-sized room with space for her “stations”: dress-up area, reading area, monkey bars across the ceiling. That made my downstairs dungeon a more pleasant place; I had company. I even set up the table in my room as her craft table to finish a project.

But it was still a dungeon. Eventually, a junk room. I’d just throw stuff in there because all I needed really was a little hole to get to the computer.
Five months ago, I decided Sophie-the-adult was no longer thinking of this place as home. So I moved in. I took over her desk, moved out her bed. Moved in my desk and drafting table – with no junk on them so they could actually be used for drawing and painting!

I even took Sophie’s tiny tea set collection in the display case and moved it piece by piece to my old room. I had to take photos of each shelf to make sure I placed them just so.
What I have now: three windows that look in three different directions; the computer, the printer, and the scanner all in the same room; a place to write and then casually walk over to the tables where I can paint.
I come down here when it’s dark, when the sun is shining, when it’s early, when it’s late. I come down here at three in the morning. I come down here because simply walking in the room stimulates my creative juices. I come down here when I have too many ideas upstairs and I have to start working on them … downstairs.

I am a conscientious shopper: I check Consumer Reports, I get references, I research and research. Except when buying a house: for that, the clincher is walking in the door and if it feels right and comfortable and welcoming, I know it’s right. Our house home is all that and more for me … except for that little room that was my office (but now which makes a perfectly pleasant guest room).

I love my new room! I love how it makes me feel. I can’t really empirically describe why, but it feels right and comfortable and welcoming. If in my Third Third I want to feel at home in my life and skin, then it’s only reasonable to feel at home in my room.

Best advice I ever got:
A hum is when your decision feels just right, when the choice you’re making matches with the whole universe. It’s a hum through your whole being.
A snag, on the other hand, is a kink. A stumble. A rough spot in the smoothness. You can try to ignore snags, try to pretend you didn’t notice them, but really, you KNOW. You know it’s not right. Period. A wise person taught me to listen to my hums and snags when making choices. They don’t lie.

My new room is a hum. My old room was a snag I should have listened to years ago.

The Third Third is a time to act on old, lingering snags and find the hum.


  1. It's because Sophie's beauty, energy, grace and sweet spirit live there!

  2. Ooh, I never thought of it that way. How lovely!

  3. hahaha! I'm so glad I found your blog; it makes me laugh and wonder and yearn to discover and just....drumroll....DO STUFF! Thanks, Barbara. I think I met you a million years ago (when you were in your early childhood gig). Good to see you again!


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