A Room of One's Own - September 30th, 2022
As promised, (to myself most of all,) I am back two weeks after posting my last chapter with the next installment of Home and thinking about Virginia Wolfe’s, A Room of One’s Own.
Not only is this essay a splendidly flowing inquiry into women and fiction, it is an exploration into the needs of a creative mind, a listing of the fundamental requirements for creative and scholarly pursuits — access to education along with enough time, space and money to follow your passions. As she famously wrote, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
This is on my mind because a good friend is losing her craft room. In the grand scheme, it is not the worst of tragedies. There is a new baby in the family, and mother and child need a place to stay, so my friend is giving up her space for the needs of her beloved family. Of course, she is happy to do this for her grandbaby, but she is also mourning that place where she could simply be herself, without performance or expectation. As a mother, artist, and writer who has fought cultural assumptions and the fear she is being selfish for wanting her own space and solitude away to think and dream and create, I cannot sympathize with my friend more. In a world the is becoming more financially precarious, where the middle-class that Wolfe wrote of and championed is being squeezed out, there is a new realization that people deserve the safety of physical and financial security, of guaranteed healthcare and bodily autonomy, that people deserve housing and food. Without these, how can we find the “room” to explore and create?
To twist the quote, a room is a room is a room.
This chapter of Home takes place in just two rooms, but Catherine’s wish for “room” to simply be safe, to grow, to heal, to learn about herself, and to live free with her family, is at the heart of this installment.
So now, without further ado, Home Chapter 25