I’ve been complaining (somewhat bitterly at times) that I have not have a space of my own in this ‘new again’ home in Ottawa. Not that I had my own space in Melbourne – far from it in fact, but here I feel I am allowed to crave somewhere for my own peace of mind. To have an area that is mine, a place that my creativity can rest in.
But there is precious little space in a two bedroom apartment for private space. Having a space to call ones own is a luxury that until now, I have not been allowed. Bronwen takes over the master bedroom because the only working TV is there and heaven help us if we miss an episode of Mr Maker; she will be an artist of some sort one day, of that I’m sure. Matthew is in the second bedroom with his computer, and I have, until now, been relegated to sitting at the kitchen table, spreading out my work and scraping back up everything I deem important in the goal of creativity for every family meal. It has been an issue of frustration and of loneliness for me. I think, I if I am honest with myself, I’ve been yearning for space of my own for years.
The other day Matthew lugged up from the basement and set up a small desk for me in the family room. The desk is made of redwood polished to a high gleam. The top opens up to reveal a green leather writing base that is embossed with beautiful gold filigree work. There are small compartments that can hide any number of notes or books. A single pen drawer has a solid brass button handle to hide away pens and tubes of glue. I find my hand gliding over the top of the desk, feeling the silky wood and the earthy grain of the leather. On the inside of the desk, there are criss-crosses of elastic that have been nailed in with brass tacks, to slide in postcards, or words of wisdom and encouragement. The hardware of the desk is brass, giving it an old world look that stands somewhat formally, but not unpleasantly against the dark stained wooden IKEA bookshelves that groan under the weight of my embroidery book collection.
The view from the other side of the kitchen table was much more pleasant, with the distant hills covered in trees. The only view afforded me here at my new desk is of the freeway in the distance, the other apartment building and the rooftops of homes. I confess that its not so pretty, the smooth geometrical brown roof tiles and the creamy brown bricks with flashes of white balcony edges and a swirling ribbon of black that carries scurrying multi-coloured beetles along the busy journey of their days. But even this view offers its own inspiration in that there is nothing to distract me as I sit and work on my story writing, or type up blog entries. I have more than enough daylight to work comfortably, but nothing to draw my eyes away from the work at hand.
OK. It’s not a room that I can close the door on and be alone. It’s not a place I can pile well read and loved or soon to be loved books around me, with baskets of embroidery materials, skeins of thread and several UFO’s (Un Finished Objects) projects scattered safely around. Buts it’s a desk, with a top that I can close. It’s a place I can put my notebooks on and write without staring at the crumbs left over from Bronwen’s morning breakfast toast. It’s a place that I can learn to love as my small space of serenity, or poetry or manic energy. It’s my small space in this small space of life.
And I think, when I become better acquainted with this space that hold my small desk, I may well just fall completely and utterly in love with it.