Monday, October 29, 2018

A Desk, A Memoir and a Day in the Writing Life

I want to thank my “mentors in absentia”—Virginia Woolf and May Sarton who wrote so eloquently about the woman alone—the life that writing offers of voice and exploration. 

A possible introduction for a new memoir? A book deadline is welcome, encouraging me to explore 'characters'; a priest who shies away from words like ‘empowered’ and ‘feminism'…a young woman whose burning desire to have a baby prompted a child born out of wedlock.

As autumn wends her way to winter, I write on a chilly October morning with a window view of orange and sepia-toned maple leaves.

My workspace has had its first makeover in twenty years, the old faux mahogany desk carted out for trash. I feel a sense of renewal, as I contemplate thoughts and reflections to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Women’s Writing Circle. I search for a title. In time it will come. 

One day in a woman’s life. Yesterday, lunch with my sons, a harvest salad of grilled chicken, cranberries and apple slices on arugula with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Alex and Daniel had put together my new desk and so lunch was on me. L-shaped, black with large glossy surfaces to spread out...books and papers, the watercolor presented to me by our Slants of Light authors. 

I bought the desk from a photo I saw online on the Sears website. I wanted to support Sears, America's last great department store. Several days later, packaging, weighing 720 pounds arrived. So many steps to put it together that by step forty-five, the person who wrote the directions joked, “Rome was not built in a day.” As my sons labored, they were not amused. They toiled over drawers and pull-out keyboard. Patience…following directions...screws and latches and sliders. They had inherited engineering skills from their father, certainly not their mother. I must write more about my sons, my story, not theirs. They have a right to tell their own story.

The old desk

The week before they built my desk, Alex and Daniel installed a new Dell computer for me—it moves so fast, not like the laptop, a poor lagging machine never quite the same after a computer store tech messed with its registry. The screen glows translucent, inviting me to begin writing these words ….

As Virginia Woolf said, a woman must have money and a room of her own and I have had the fortune of both. Woolf also said that a woman needs privacy in order to write. This is the advantage I have, which so many women do not, although it was by design. I could have been married several times over by now but need for privacy and the writing life away from the demands of an ailing or needy man won out. I must write more about this. The keyboard beckons.

How about you? Is your workspace one that inspires you to write?

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