Guest post by Anita Daher
Other than time to write (because there is never enough of it), something most writers yearn for at one point or another is space; a place to spread our writing stuff, and a door to close against everything else.
Once upon a time I had that. While we were living in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, I had an office with a door. A door on which I was able to tape a note saying “A closed door means I’m working,” and another saying, “That means do not disturb unless it is an emergency,” and yet another saying, “Needing a four letter word for a cold katabatic wind is not an emergency; neither is not being able to find your socks.”
Three years ago we waved goodbye to Sault Ste. Marie, and my office with a door, and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
It took a long time for me to get comfortable. I don’t mean with the city! It really is lovely here, and every bit as vibrant, artistically and culturally rich, as a very nice man named Arthur Black once promised me. No, I’m referring to writing space. We live in a big old house—which I also love—with many rooms, but they are all filled up with family, and family type stuff. I’ve moved my desk from one corner to another, from the top of the house to the bottom, but have never found a space that I don’t feel squished, or in the way.
I suppose it doesn’t matter a whole lot. As I mentioned in my previous entry I’m quite used to being on the move. Depending on my mood, the light, or the degree of chaos bleeding out of one room or another, I will move from space to space, usually, and perhaps unfortunately, to a space in close proximity to my refrigerator. All I need is a table, or a couch, or a nice bit of floor. It’s worked so far, as I’ve managed to produce three books in this place, and have another few on the way.
Still, I long for a door.
Very soon, my wish could be fulfilled.
My friend Kelly, who owns the biggest and best used book store in the heart of Winnipeg’s Exchange District is moving buildings. In his new place he plans to turn the second floor into “Rooms for Writers.” Any who wish it can obtain a room with a door for a month, or longer; a sort of retreat where we can shut ourselves off and in for moments of focus, or mingle in hallways to share moans over cramped backs and necks, and then leave at the end of our work days. In exchange, we will pay money, or offer a certain degree of writer-in-residence services.
I think it sounds lovely, but wonder whether I will actually be able to uproot myself. Office, or no office, I am such a Hermit Homebody. Come winter, I like to wrap myself in a blanket, don my fuzzy slippers, and close the drapes.
Still…a real door. One that closes.
Ah, well. Kelly has not moved yet, so it’s not something I need decide for a while. For now, it is time to stop wishing, put my imaginary office in order, and get to work.
But first…I think I’ll make myself a snack.