'a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'
Virginia Woolf's extended essay, "A Room of One's Own" had it's effect on me as a college student deciding to make a life out of studying and writing literature, and I reread it every few years. I love her passion, I admire her strength, I want to emulate her talent, and I took to heart several of her ideas on womanhood, which were quite innovative (as so many women writers were) for her time. If I could have the deepest desires of my heart, it wouldn't be to be the teacher I am (which I adore), it would be to be a full-time writer and artist...something I am hoping to make happen in the next decade.
I've always shied away from thinking too much about marriage now that I am older. When you are 20, you don't worry about all the things you would worry about at 30. I don't know how I would feel marrying someone, letting someone support me if I decide to stay home and have children, giving up my own salary, and adjusting to all the things it takes to become partners. Thoughts of this terrify me, as I think, what if it doesn't work out, what if I am left without anything? What if I spend 20 years raising children and putting my career on hold and then we divorce and I am left with starting all over again? What it, what if, what if.....did any of you feel that way when getting married or committing to a partnership? How did you adjust? How did you handle it? Did you keep working, do you have a separate bank accounts (is that blasphemy?) (My real question is do you have to justify every beautiful pair of shoes you buy with your husband's money?)
In another life I would have been an interior designer...with a Southern accent and spent my days decorating homes and making them beautiful for the families that would be living in them. I think that a person should find their home the most beautiful and peaceful and romantic and enjoyable place on earth, no matter what they own. I have always delighted in creating elegant and chic homes for myself, whether it be my first tiny one bedroom apartment in Florida that I decorated with vintage flea market finds, or my airy room in Harlem with long white billowing curtains on the windows, or my attic bedroom in France where I would treat myself to fresh flowers often, and recently my new home here in Salt Lake that has such a homey feel to it.
I've spent many a wistful hour imagining a house full of children's laughter, and a husband's strong presence, and the chaos that comes from being the mother of a family. But, in that setting, there was always one room, just for me. It would have large floor to ceiling windows so that I could have the sunlight to tell me the true colors of my paint. It would have beautiful built in bookshelves where all my books could be housed in one place (not in drawers, and stacked on floors, and shoved in nightstands, and piled on end tables like right now).
When I look through catalogs I continually tear out pages that feature aspects that I love and I have them all in a folder that I will one day put into action to create this room. I love the light colors with rich accents, the softness and elegance of it all.
I am not one to make crafty things out of wood blocks or hang wreaths with hay sticking out of them on my walls. I love decorating with beautifully framed original photos.
As Woolf makes clear...three conditions are mandatory for a woman to become the writer she was meant to be: leisure time, privacy, and financial independence.
"Life for both sexes—and I look at them, shouldering their way along the pavement—is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion that we are, it calls for confidence in oneself." Virginia Woolf