My current workspace has kept me happy for some time now, but recently my hubby and I took a tour of the area under our house where the pool table currently resides. Due to a wet summer and its continuation into winter, the brick walls have attracted fungi (we have ENSO conditions to thank for that – El Nino Southern Oscillation). As we discussed what to do about the fungi I started to imagine what the space would look like as my studio. It is large enough to hold my books and my desks, as well as the pool table, plus it has it’s own bathroom. Within minutes I was telling my husband how I’d like to turn that window into a door, lift up the lino and replace it with something nicer and warmer, erect a wall between it and the garage and treat the brickwork to some rendering to seal it from the moisture. My husband might have made one of those faces he makes when he’s anxious, but I was too busy in my fantasy studio to notice. For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of a library/studio lined with books, a comfy armchair and an enchanted garden just outside. I am halfway towards achieving the enchanted garden at the side of the house, but currently it is only accessible through a makeshift gate. My husband was all for the idea after visualising it himself (and perhaps seeing the benefits of relocating my writing life). We have a four bedroom house, but three of the rooms are taken up with workspace, one with my books, one with the desks and tools of writing and the other is my husband’s man room where he keeps his manly things.
Even though I spend my days staring at a 17 inch area of white screen, I like to fill the space around me with thoughtful things – and paper, lots of paper. Currently a large portion of the paper component is missing from my space. This was a choice I made some time ago to maximise both bookshelf space and workspace, but, as I suspected it would, it has left me with a feeling of being unglued. As a writer it is difficult for me to separate the acts of reading and writing. I constantly write notes while reading and read while writing. It is an immutable thread. When I am in the workspace I think about being in the library and vice versa. Though I love to lie on the sofa bed in the library with a pile of books, it feels like a room with books rather than a true collection or reading room. Books belong in hands, not collecting dust on shelves out of sight or getting compressed in boxes. They need to be opened in order to speak. And so it is with this in mind that I am seeking to create a new library/studio to house my collection and my thoughts.
External space is an allegory of the internal world. We must be as comfortable in our workspace as we are in our own minds.