A writer’s space is a special place, where you are privately cloistered, yet free to imagine, where you are safe, yet free to explore other worlds and other ways of being and doing, where no one else intrudes and asks questions, where the only questions asked are those you ask yourself or are the questions of the characters you create.
Below is a poem I wrote a while back now about the bedroom I write in. The remit was to try writing a sonnet, so this was the result. It’s a little flowery and I probably got carried away with the romantic language, but it pretty much encapsulates the kind of private space you go into when you’re an artist of any kind – writer and painter in my case. Ideals are there with you, personal dreams are there with you, and hopefully a personal muse of some kind by your side. But if the muse isn’t forthcoming straight away, you crack on anyway. Right?
Yet you face doubts, despair, the threat of failure, and the chasing of success – hmm, whatever failure and success mean to you, and I do find myself frequently wondering these days. And you need to believe in yourself no matter what. Part of that belief comes from carrying on, doing the work which nourishes us.
An Artist’s Room
A warm and glowing shrine of yellows, greens,
With highlights of pinks, and cushions and quilts,
While by the window shift the seasonal scenes,
With me contained, composing lyric lilts.
A room of many colours, many beings,
Where I have studied, sifting through the hours,
Where I have slept through many fleeting dreams,
Secluded in my private floral bower.
Where works I’ve painted long since filled the cupboards,
Where aspirations long since lined the walls.
An artist’s life I live, so I chase bluebirds
To guide me to success in hallowed halls.
And though I’m often tempted to despair,
My room will always listen to my prayer.
How do you feel about your special place?
In parts 2 and 3, I’ll look at both the physical space and the mind space of writing. That space where you have to shut out the immediate world and focus on what writer and teacher, John Gardener (The Art of Fiction) calls the ‘fictive dream’.