I just spent a long weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a writer’s retreat. I had never been to New Mexico. Or to a writer’s retreat. I had no idea what to expect from either. Both were amazing. Continue reading
Last week I was walking to the post office at lunch when a man rushed over to me and asked if I would mind taking a picture for him. Unlike that other university in Virginia, there aren’t too many (read: any) famous rotundas designed by former presidents on our campus, so this was a slightly unusual request. I was immediately curious. Continue reading
This week in my writing class we talked about the importance of having a space dedicated to writing. It was certainly a concept I was familiar with, the idea of an office or a studio. However for me, creating space to write has always been more about carving out time and less about an actual physical location.
The concept of space or studio seems so much easier to apply to the visual arts. Clearly the painter needs a place for huge canvases and the photographer needs a darkroom. My canvas is a blank document on my laptop and my mind is the darkroom in which ideas develop; neither needs much tangible space.
However, there is another function of the artist’s studio that I had not really considered until recently. Above and beyond storage and pure functionality, there is the idea that entering the space causes a shift in consciousness. It signals to the brain, it is now time to shut out the other noise of life and focus on the painting, sculpture, photograph, story. It is time to create.
And when I began to think of it that way, I realized that I do have just such a space. That space is not the space pictured above. Instead it is this:
That’s right. I have a nice office, with a great desk and even a skylight; but my space is a small couch. I’m not really sure exactly how it happened, but that couch is where I started writing and it’s where I still write today. When I sit there each Sunday night my body, my brain, and my soul know it is time to write.
So in the end, I do have a studio. I still believe that the time I carve out is the most important part; but I can see now that having a space helps me make the most of that time. Maybe it’s a bit unconventional, but isn’t that the beauty of the writer’s craft? We can make our studios in coffee shops and libraries. Anywhere from closets to corners of spare rooms to couches.
The most important thing is just to make room for the story.