While growing up, my room was my sanctuary. As an only child, my room was where I could indulge in games, write, read, listen to music on the radio a little louder than what was tolerated by my parents beyond my doors. There was a time when my walls were giant collages, cut-outs from magazines (TeenBeat, Seventeen, NatGeo Jr. and a host of others I don’t remember anymore) and I smiled happily each time I entered this jungle with the smiling faces of Andy Gibb, Scott Baio, Leif Eriksson, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford plastered on one wall, and every animal imaginable on the other. Over 40 years later, Iook back and smile at the fact that this was my rudimentary version of a Pinterest board, collecting images that made me smile or inspired me in one way or another, sometimes even gave me comfort. I wouldn’t be able to stand ten minutes in such a room these days, much preferring the minimalist look now (I can’t even stand a cluttered desktop scree with scattered icons), but I can certainly understand where the Baroque artists got their groove!
When I moved into my current apartment I inherited several items from the previous tenants, which have given the glam into my glamping. It’s no secret that I love to move furniture around, especially when churning something over in my mind. A former neighbor of mine used to clean windows to de-stress, so between the two of us, she had the cleanest windows in Berlin, and my living and dining room arrangements changed almost on a weekly basis. In some places it was more difficult to do so because the layout of the room did not allow for much variation, but I have been extremely lucky this time and have several options.
One of the things I have truly missed in the past 16 years is having my own study. A shared den was healthy for family life (and allowed me to supervise my daughter’s internet activity at her young age then), but detrimental for the writer in me. Either I wrote late at night or not at all. So when I stood in the middle of my semi-empty living room the other day, I realized I had all the elements I needed for a home office / writing corner again – including my favorite spider plant! I still don’t have the perfect desk, and probably never will, but as I keep telling myself as of late, it’s all about the resulting substance and not the form, e.g. wine in a beer glass.
Like many writers, I have a preferential option for a desk by the window. Many find this distracting and would rather face the wall in order to concentrate but this doesn’t work for me. A blank wall drives me absolutely nuts, not to mention that I also take Feng Shui elements into consideration and must have the solid wall behind me, not in front!
How many of you have watched Pride and Prejudice? The writing table by the window looking out to the huge tree has always been a dream, and I truly understand why Jane Austen incorporated this particular scene in her books, since she herself preferred to write by the window. I don’t have an oak (or was it walnut?) but a glorious ash instead. It lacks the elegance of an oak or even a noble chestnut, but it defines the sky I look out to, and that is all that matters at the moment.