The Value Of Personal Space
It was quite recently that I came to appreciate the true value of personal space. It was a ‘light bulb’ moment, or maybe more like a thunderstorm explosion, when I found myself packing up my books and computer from the dining table when my dear husband came through the door with the ‘What’s for dinner?’ expression on his face!’
Needless to say, this situation has not been an ideal environment for creativity, or for the harmonious atmosphere of our home.
We have seriously downsized into a tiny, independent apartment under our son’s house. (I am 74 and Rick is 80) I have a beautiful garden and my husband has a wonderful, spacious workshop where he enjoys hours of noisy woodworking with podcasts blaring. He has HIS private hideout. But what about me?
As I slammed my books onto the floor, I despairingly uttered the words, ‘I need a personal space, somewhere to put my stuff.’
It’s quite common for Rick to fail to respond to my wailings, and this was one of these times. I reflected back to my own, beautiful room at our previous house. I had wall to wall cupboards, an antique desk with a pretty arm chair in the corner. The windows overlooked the garden, it was here that I focused on my writing. How I loved this room, it was my haven. I valued my personal space where nobody interrupted, apart from the Pest Control man who insisted on chattering away about the python in the ceiling and all manner of bugs that he had conquered during his career.
I imagined that my cry for help had not registered with my dear husband, but much to my surprise I discovered he was constantly on Marketplace searching for office equipment. On further questioning I was informed of his plan to convert the cellar at the end of his workshop, into an office for me! Now, I was really excited.
The cellar is an insulated cold room with shelving for wine on one wall, room for 300 bottles. As we never manage more than two bottles on hand, the room had been used for storage of boxes, timber, and all manner of things. Rick quietly worked away removing the shelving and junk, replacing it with a desk, bookshelves and pretty pink chair, which Jazz, our Cavoodle has claimed.
The walls and floor were painted, air conditioner checked, and BINGO, I have my own personal space. It IS underground, but I’m able to access our son’s internet through the concrete ceiling! I’m in a soundproof, insulated bunker and I LOVE it!
Our two grandchildren decorated the walls with splatter paint and a lovely message,
‘No-one is perfect, that is why pencils have erasers!’
After speaking with my mentor and publisher Ocean Reeve recently, he enquired about my current writing. I replied that I wasn’t working on anything and that I was not feeling creative in any way because of the lack of personal space. He challenged me to write one hundred words a day. As always, I have taken his wise advice and naturally, the one hundred words evolves into one thousand! I’m now totally involved in writing a fiction which is incredibly different to non-fiction, the genre of my previous two books. Where will it end? I have no idea, it is just flowing!
I look back and understand how important and valuable it is for me to have a personal space where I can go to work.
Some creatives can work in a coffee shop, a park or by the beach, but I seem to be doing my best work in my underground bunker!
If there is ever an earthquake you are all welcome to join me!
Until next time, I hope you too, understand the value of personal space.
Jenny Old AUTHOR
‘Innocent Nurses Abroad’
‘Back of Beyond’ Facebook