Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On Never Having Had A Room of One's Own

For the past 20 years, I have not had a room to call my own. I have always shared my room with my two brothers. When I turned 16, my older brother (2 years older) moved to the pull out couch in the living room, and I continued to share our room with my younger brother (6 years younger). When I turned 18, I decided to give up the room and opted for the pull out couch; so I exchanged with my older brother. 

Out of all my friends, I was the only one who did not have a room to call my own. I could never, and I still cannot, call the room I shared with my brothers my room. I have never held a special attachment to it, nor did I ever feel the need for privacy until I turned 16.

When I turned 16, I started to crave peace and privacy. Because I could not have that in my home, my privacy - my haven and sanctuary - had become the outdoors. Although, I now realize that the outdoors were only a replacement because I was not able to have that privacy within my house.

Whenever I needed to think or write, I would go for a walk or go to the park. My mind was clearer and more open when I was outside.  The desire for my own sanctuary, however, did not subside. I wanted to be able to lie on my bed at home and write. Unfortunately, there was nothing for me to do about it since I did not have the money make a change in living arrangements. 

So, my privacy - privacy where I could do the most important of things: reflect, read, and write - was possible during nighttime. When every one of my family were asleep, I found myself feeling utmost peace. Knowing that everyone was asleep and that I was the only one awake made me feel like I was alone. I appreciated my alone time. 

It was when I had the house to myself that I realized the importance and significance of having a private space for oneself. 

As Virginia Woolf says in A Room of One's Own, what is needed is private space and money. I needed money to buy a space that I could call my own. Just as well, money equals time. Time is needed to reflect and write. If I am busy trying to get money, I cannot have all the time I need in order to reflect, think, and write whenever I wished to do so.

While I am not a genius writer or an established author, I assume the need to have a private space is a desire that most individuals have; more so for authors and poets. Poetry comes best to me when there is utter and complete silence. Imagination comes best to me when everything around me is silent so the only things I hear are my own thoughts. In order for that to happen, I'd require my own private space.

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". I don't believe Woolf could have put this any other way.

1 comment:

  1. The connection between a private physical space and a virtual mental space of creativity is most clearly laid out in this piece. The ways in which the material world, actual physical world, influences and shapes our minds, thoughts and ideas is one that can be connected to Marx's theory of how history is shaped by the physical world (specifically for him the process of production) and not exactly ideas as ideas and the human consciousness are shaped by the actual physical world. The same idea is presented here as this particular writer is influenced by the physical world, the deep need for a private space, in order to engage with the mind and thoughts.