A Room of One’s Own. Exactly One.
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. ”
— Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
My friend Therese emailed me to ask how I’m writing. She says, “I can’t picture you. Are you at a table sweating in the RV? Sitting on a rock? Down in Morgan Hill at a cafe?”
The first one. Only I’m not sweating. It’s really cold in the a.m., so I’m wearing a warm sweater over my p.j.’s, and usually a blanket wrapped around me.
Because we haven’t managed to get Mauricio transferred down here, he’s commuting an hour to an hour and a half. Not exactly our plan for improved quality of life. But we’re working on it. For now, he gets up at 4:30 a.m. to leave by 5. It’s intimidating to walk out into the wilderness at that hour in the pitch dark to get in the car, and then to open and close two locked gates down the dirt road. On the to-do is putting up our solar, automatic gate opener.
At any rate, I’ve been getting up with him (or more precisely, lingering under the warm down comforter for a bit before getting up with him) to get my writing for work done. Rather, I write stuff for this, reply to email, plan upcoming homeschooling classes, and dawdle around researching things like composting toilets and non-pesticide ways to discourage ants, before getting my paid writing work done-ish.
First, I make my coffee. Then I sit down in the one room of my own: The RV kitchen. Or at least it’s my own until the kids wake up around 8:30. See the shower out the window behind me?
I can research a lot of key words and jam out a lot of words in that time. It’s pitch dark, except for the glow of my laptop screen (I had to turn on a light inside and wait until it got a little lighter outside to take that shot). Though I’m a morning person by necessity, not by nature, I love being awake as the pitch gives way to daylight, the great horned owl (hmm, didn’t hear him today) concedes to the stellar’s jay and the family of California quail.
Here’s my POV as I write.
Now, you may get the impression that it’s all romantic-like, writing in the early morning hours with the birds singing out my window. That’s a good thing. I’m optimistic and that’s how I choose to see it. But it’s not all like that, either. There’s a lot about this that is hard.
Hot and sweaty is hard.
Trying to get anything done when there’s a lot to do and you’re hot and sweaty is hard.
Doing errands when everything—including your friend, Therese, and mother-in-law who used to take the kids for such things—is a half-hour away or more, is hard.
The laundromat is hard.
The RV toilet is hard. Gross and hard.
Cooking for five with zero counter space, a teensy sink and no water pressure is hard.
Washing dishes with zero counter space, a teensy sink and no water pressure is hard.
Storing food is hard because:
Ants who can smell a crumb an RV’s-length away are hard.
Ants who can get to that crumb and tell all their friends about it in the time it takes to take the scraps out to the compost are hard.
Ants on every surface are hard.
Ants crawling up my arm are hard.
Wasps are hard.
Not using pesticide and not yet finding an alternative that actually works is hard.
Ants and wasps are hard.
And yet, now the sun is up. There’s a bit of a lingering fog. It’s utterly quiet, except for that family of California quail scuttling around out there. It’s a quiet you don’t get in the ‘burbs. It makes the hard stuff pretty easy to put up with.
Virginia Woolf said that a woman must have money and a room of her own in order to write. I’d amend that slightly. This woman needs no more than the amount of money she currently makes and this room of her own out here in the sticks—minus the ants.