Virginia was right.
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write…
After a few years of Stijn and I trying to co-habit in a shared office space, I realized a few weeks ago that it wasn’t working for me, that I needed my own space to write, one that had my own books, office supplies, piles of papers, houseplants, etcetera.
I was nervous to tell him that I wanted to keep a separate space. I felt like, somehow, it was a signal that there was something amiss with our relationship. I waffled for a while about broaching the subject. And when I finally did, I was nervous that he would resist or feel betrayed. He didn’t. He was nonchalant, asked a few clarifying questions about shared resources, and wished me well.
For many years I have worked and written from wherever I could plug-in my laptop, and I have done just fine. I wrote papers, authored blogposts, crafted technical documentation, and replied to emails all from wherever and whenever. It has worked and I have made do. But now it feels like such a luxury to be able to claim a room and to make it my own. And already I can feel the difference. Writing is easier than it has been in a very long time.
Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. Women, then, have not had a dog’s chance of writing poetry. that is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one’s own.