A Room of One’s Own, aka Cache

Virginia Woolf  wrote that for a woman to write, she needed an independent income and a room of her own. While exceptional women authors have emerged without those two advantages, I do see Woolf’s point. Quiet is nice. Solitude is nice. And I imagine that I could write a whole lot more if I didn’t need this thing called a day job to pay my bills.

This is my first morning writing in the room I have made my office. Birds are chirping outside the window. I’m sitting in an old wooden chair that I used when typing essays in graduate school. My laptop rests on a desk that my dad found in some antique store and painstakingly refinished. The desk has a drawer with a lock – and a key. It feels old and secretive. I love this desk.

So my immediate writing zone is good. However, boxes lie on the floor, and I have a suitcase, an ice cream maker, and piles of assorted gift wrap keeping me company. It feels more like an attic than an office at the moment. But we’ll get there.

Earlier this spring, many of the materials now in my room were in boxes for temporary storage in our sunroom. A flock of 8 adolescent chickens were also resident in the area. What I learned from this unfortunate juxtaposition is that chickens are terribly dusty. Notebooks, papers, letters, souvenir brochures, newspaper clippings of articles that I’d written  — things collected over a lifetime — were all sprinkled with a fine layer of white, smelly chicken dust. Some of these things could be salvaged. Others could not. I spent hours sorting, saving, going through my past with a fine tooth comb. Throwing some of it away.

What’s left is mostly collected in this room, my writing room. I am slowly making order out of the chaos. I’m starting clean. I’m making happy discoveries.

For instance  – my National Insurance card from my time in England, last seen in 2007. It disappeared during a move, and I felt sure it was lost forever. It unexpectedly turned up in a box of papers, along with my student ID cards from various institutions. My access card for the British Library (now expired), and assorted library cards. The tally looks something like this. Major credit cards: 1. Library cards: 7. Student ID cards: 3.

This room is where the past catches up with the present. Amy the student, Amy the traveler, Amy the writer are all here, working on the same story.

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