A Room of Her Own, and a Giveaway

by Jennifer on May 30, 2008

A room of my own? Yes, I have one. And the photo to the left isn’t it. That is a photo of Virginia Woolf’s writing room.

I’m lucky to have my room, but I have to be honest: I haven’t imbued it with the respect and sacredness it deserves. That I deserve. I’m pretty sure that it looks nothing like what Virginia Woolf had in mind when she wrote A Room of One’s Own.

This room is my office (a sterile word for a room that should be more), but it’s also the room that collects things that need to be put away when company stops by (or every other Monday when the cleaning ladies come). At times, the kids use my computer (their computer has a broken CD drive). The room has two doors, and it’s a convenient pass through for children chasing dogs (or vice versa), or children chasing each other. Right now, there’s a bag of dry-cleaning waiting to be dropped off. Board games on the bookshelf. Rubbermaid bins full of I’m-not-sure waiting to be moved. The boxes from one half of the closet have migrated out of the closet into one corner, still there from when I was looking for something packed away– something still unfound, by the way. (These damn boxes.)

I won’t take photos, but trust me, they would prove that that there’s nothing sacred about this room.

This morning I found an email from this organization, A Room of Her Own Foundation. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I’ve been on their email list for quite a while, but don’t hear from them all that often. When I do, I’m reminded of what an amazing force it is. As stated on their website, AROHO is a “nonprofit organization, organized and operated to further the vision of Virginia Woolf and bridge the often fatal gap between a woman’s economic reality and her artistic creation.” One of the founders, Darlene Chandler Bassett, adds that the foundation helps โ€œwomen of genius, just beyond sight and hearing, who donโ€™t have the time, privacy, or money to devote to their art.โ€

I hope you will head over to their website and read more about their mission.

If I’m lucky enough to have a room of my own in our next house, I vow to make it less utilitarian. I plan to paint the walls and hang things on them that are pleasing to me. There will be more bookshelves and fewer board games. I will ban all Rubbermaid bins, no matter what they hold. And if, in the next house, all I can find is a corner for my desk, then the same rules apply. I deserve that much grace. We all do.

Maybe it’s a tall order, but you know what? These days, I’m kind of into tall orders.

There are women in the world (I’ll include the men, too, because I’m a fair-minded girl, and because it’s true), in my world, who have words inside them that, when strung together, can tie a solid knot around my heart. Virginia Woolf may not have known any of them, but I still think of them when I read this:

Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time, the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics. –Virgina Woolf

So maybe a lot of us (me) live in houses that aren’t so very old. And some of you live in houses that have been around for a while (lucky you). But listen to what she wrote. How powerful is that? And if you live in a newer home, as I do, then you’re the one.

The one who starts it all.

Now on to our giveaway

(Insert balloons and confetti)

I can’t give you a writing cottage like this (the line for a writing cottage in the woods forms just behind me, just so you know)…

But I can give you one of these:

So leave me a comment between now and Tuesday, June 3rd, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of this book.

In the meantime, enjoy whatever space is your favorite place to read or write. Right now, I’m off to de-clutter mine.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan May 30, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I love the color and the title and the concept. I am in..

Jans last blog post..I name this….

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D / Momma May 30, 2008 at 1:21 pm

What a great post! I am going to have to take a snapshot of my office this weekend, so you can see what I’ve done with it. I still have to share it somewhat, but mostly it’s mine. I’ve just painted it a lovely yellow called “Daffodil” and am putting up a wallpaper border this weekend. After that, I’ll post something about it.

The world needs art. There is enough competition and ugliness, isn’t there? Let’s give it more art.

Peace – D

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Brenda May 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm

There is nothing like one’s own space. Especially when one has small children and needs to be alone from time to time. Everyone SHOULD carve out at the very least a small corner for themselves and let it creatively represent themselves and be a haven. Really, to me this is of utmost importance.

I have a few such spaces. They are not always de-cluttered, but should be. (And most are–MOST of the time.) I actually have my own room. But I must admit it’s a bit utilitarian, but it makes me SO HAPPY, even that it is definitely not what I would call “decorated.” And yes, once in awhile that’s where the piles go in preparation for the housekeeper, but i promise that only creativity and business (God forbid, politics) happen there.

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Karin May 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Would love to be entered in the book giveaway. Thanks!

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Just Jamie May 30, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Sometimes when I get really pissed at the world, at my husband, at whatever, I begin to mentally decorate *my* own apartment, or house, or cottage. I truly dream about having that space of my own. I buy whatever funky/beautiful/antique piece of furniture I want. I arrange it how I want, and I only put *my* stuff on it. No keys or wallet or anything that doesn’t suit me. I decorate the windows, the walls, the shelves of my imaginary fortress … until I get grounded and come back to reality. Having a room of one’s own is such a luxury. But if I *really* had it, I’d probably get lonely and crave clutter and company.

Just Jamies last blog post..Trade Her for Trader Joe?

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andi May 30, 2008 at 5:07 pm

I am so coveting that little writing cabin. Right now, in my smallish, older house, my “space” is sitting on the couch with my laptop. Oh, and you don’t have to enter me into the contest – I already have the book. You just know it’s one of my favorites.

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Dave May 30, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Most of the time I write in my truck, standing up, on break from work, etc. But I LIKE that cottage. I’m sure I’d look good in it too, lol….

I’d like to opt out of the contest (in favor of the ladies) in honor of my mom: a lady who loved art, nature and archaeology but devoted her time to raising us!

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Jenn @ Juggling Life May 30, 2008 at 6:30 pm

My “master suite” doubles as my getaway/writing room–thank goodness for laptops. It’s the only room on the second floor so I can have complete isolation–a very valuable thing when you have 4 kids.

I’d take the forest retreat in a heartbeat.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..In Which I Survive A Trip To The Mall

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Ann May 30, 2008 at 6:31 pm

That cottage, what a dream – and its surroundings positively a sculpture borne of nature. How nurturing would that be?

Have you seen The Hours? Everyone I know detested that movie – I ADORED it. To my core. Every dark, damp, personal alley of it – all of it.

So yeah, I guess I’m in then! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anns last blog post..Best of Comments Vol. 1, With Cookies

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Mrs. Chili May 30, 2008 at 7:21 pm

My space is a corner of the kitchen. Since it’s “public” space, I can’t really do much with it, but I HAVE done what I can. There are love notes and photos and quotes stuck to the walls.. I have a meditating Buddha on the desk and “rhet” and “lit” bumper stickers stuck with tape to the wall. It is MY space, and I love it.

I grew up in a house that was built in 1692 (we had documents…). While there’s nothing nostalgic about my memories there, I DO remember feeling like I never belonged there. The house I share with my family is one we built – no one but us has lived here. We’ve invited (and created) the kind of energy we WANT to be here – there are no monsters under the beds and the only spirits that live in the space are ones in tune with OUR energy. I’d be content to live out the rest of my days in this house; we’ve made it into a home by loving each other well within the walls.

Mrs. Chilis last blog post..F-F-Friday

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flutter May 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Oh lady you are so on track with my thinking today. Thank you

flutters last blog post..Hunger

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Lisa Milton May 30, 2008 at 7:37 pm

I’m cleaning out this place and dreaming of the next.

I think a cuter, cozy space will be necessary this time out.

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Michelle May 30, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I’m so with you on the office (which is technically mine) being the repository for everything. I now have my desk and a hutch, an old entertainment center, and a new long file cabinet — all of which are full and piled high with random stuff that doesn’t belong there. You may have given me inspiration for this weekend!

Oh — and thank AllMediocre for sending me your way!

Michelles last blog post..To Pee Or Not To Pee…

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Carolyn May 30, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Oh wow. This post certainly brought me out of hiding! I just love the idea of having a little cottage-like space of my own. How delightul if it existed for the soul purpose of creative pursuits. Heavenly concept.

As for now, our ‘den’ has one wall of shelves filled with books and beautiful objects. The other wall anchors my piano. It is the space between these inspiring things where my computer desk sits and I try to write. It’s a nice space, but it’s a little too clean and clinical for true creativity to blossom.

You’ve certainly motivated me to pursue the idea of a little shed in the back of our woodsy yard to build a nook for reading and writing. My mom and I have discussed it before, but we’ve never made it a reality. Time to get to work! Add carpenter to my list of hobbies next…

Carolyns last blog post..sugar. now with more sugar!

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JCK May 30, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Jennifer, thanks so much for sharing that information about the foundation supporting women and their artistic passions!

A room of one’s own is vital to a woman. I know this. I have to find this. Even if it is a corner of a room. My “office” is quite sterile, too.

JCKs last blog post..Fishnets or cash?

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Kelly May 30, 2008 at 11:18 pm

WOW, I got a cozy feeling looking at the writing cottage in the woods. The books, the computer, the view…now I’m drooling (and standing behind you in line)

Great post!

Kellys last blog post..All Mediocre

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SteveCinNM May 31, 2008 at 5:22 am

I like the idea of that little cottage, even if writing were never to take place there. A place to go… that’s away from whatever it is you want to be away from. Maybe it’s some sort of lefteover childhood desire for a “clubhouse” or tree fort that I never quite shook. Regardless, it’s a pleasant thought. And it is very kind of you to offer a little gift to one of those who leave a comment. I must confess I have shied away from reading anything by Ms. Woolf, but the small excerpt you included has made me decide that it might be time to take the plunge. So, it’s time to put these fears away, because clearly no one should be afraid of Virginia Woolf.

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Dharmamama May 31, 2008 at 5:56 am

It’s not my own, but a friend has gone here a couple of times:
http://www.wildacres.org/residency_program.htm

I’ve attended retreats at their retreat center and it’s a transformative location, very magical. So… maybe a mountain house of my own? I DO have an office in our new place, that I plan to use for meditation and reiki… as soon as I get the computer desk out of it. Should be *any* day now, really…

Dharmamamas last blog post..That Movie that Opened Today

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jen May 31, 2008 at 9:39 am

i’m excited to check out your link. sounds very interesting.
so funny you should mention “the room”. i’m in the middle of creating mine! it’s just a little area downstairs, but a place that is mine (all mine!) that i can retreat to be creative with all of my supplies around me! can’t wait!
thanks!

jens last blog post..i do more than you do.

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Lisa May 31, 2008 at 11:25 am

I would love a room of my own–and the book too ๐Ÿ™‚

Lisas last blog post..Facing My Fears, Making a Chance

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MICHAEL MANNING May 31, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Jennifer: I have you Blogrolled; sorry for the delay. But I am reminded of Steve McQueen’s office in the movie “Bullitt”. It was his Mustang GT. So, lol! My guitar practice area replaced my small dining area because as I said once, let’s face it. Kate Hudson is only a short flight away, but I rather doubt I can expect her to show up! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a fantastic day, Jennifer and welcome aboard over at my Blog!

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tysdaddy May 31, 2008 at 1:58 pm

My room? A vinyl folding chair at the end of my garage, watching the world go around. When it’s raining, I scoot inside a bit.

Being in school, I have often wanted to have a place of my own for study, writing and whatnot. Currently, I share a small space with no door with my wife. It’s cozy, but busy.

So, while it’s warm, I sit outside. The biggest room of all . . .

tysdaddys last blog post..My Leading Ladies

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Katy (aka funny girl) May 31, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I’ve yet to win something on these bloggy giveaways, but maybe it’s my lucky day!!

Katy (aka funny girl)s last blog post..I know itโ€™s not Wednesday, butโ€ฆ

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Rhea May 31, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Oh, you’re teasing me with that writing cottage photo. Mean!!

At least you have your own writing room. That’s nice, even if it is cluttered and a major thoroughfare to children and dogs. I have a little nook, but mainly I write in my car…in the carpool line, in traffic, sitting in the grass at baseball practice, etc. You get the idea.

Lovely post!

Rheas last blog post..Baseball ready

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Denise @ EatPlayLove May 31, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Right about now, I would settle for a closet of my own. But when I looked at that magical little cottage in the photo, I realized, I have a large shed in my backyard. It really only houses odds and ends, it doesn’t have electricity. But maybe, Just maybe, I could doll it up and give myself a daytime (or candlelight) space of my own.

Thanks for the inspiration, I needed it today.

Denise @ EatPlayLoves last blog post..Maybe She Was Born With It, or Maybe….

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Kari Follett June 1, 2008 at 2:45 am

Im lucky enough to have a room of my own – it’s my youngest son’s nursery turned craft/hobby/computer room for me. I love it SO MUCH, everything on the wall is random, made with love from the kids or something I did myself. It’s my sanctuary ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the contest!

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boliath June 1, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Your post ignited a flame in my head, a burning desire i didn’t even know I had. I WANT so so very much a room of my own, I had no idea! A place with my things my photos that are packed away in boxes, my music, my lighting, oh my gods, MINE. The closest thing I have to that is my car which is usually full of children and trash, or maybe my office which has an open door and lots of people walking by. Thank you for alerting me to this need, I’m flippant but so serious too! A ROOM ALL OF MY OWN – sigh.

boliaths last blog post..Wii Fit

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Daryl June 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm

That you have a room of your own is IMO a VERY big deal .. I have a corner of the livingroom … and my desk is a piece of wood the Husband is going to make into a desk any day now .. he put C clamps on it temporarily in ’98 .. really .. I have NEVER had a room of my own EVER .. not ever .. now I am sad

:-Daryl

Daryls last blog post..

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Suzanne June 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm

My room of my own is a fold down front desk (I know that’s not the right name for it) that belonged to my grandmother and which sits in a corner of my bedroom and fits my laptop perfectly.

Cluttering the desk are my camera, a candle, a bulletin board of inspirational pictures and phrases (that vision map thing), a lamp, and cubbyholes stuffed with envelopes and little books.

This little space is far from spacious, but when I sit down to write, it becomes the center of the universe and I am able to write here, for which I am grateful and for that reason it feels magical!

-suz

Suzannes last blog post..The Glass Mystery: Chapter 21 – The Moscow Diaries

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Ree June 1, 2008 at 6:22 pm

You’ve inspired me to actually do something with that office I have to share with all of the men in my house. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you.

Rees last blog post..May Hotlight – How does your garden grow?

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Emily R June 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Oh, no, you don’t! I was first in line for that cottage. I have DAILY fantasies about it. No buttsies!

(Don’t enter me in the contest b/c you KNOW I already have a copy.)

Emily Rs last blog post..Flying solo

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HRH June 2, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I am in line behind ya.

I would love to win the book since it looks like the cottage line is long.

HRHs last blog post..Monday potluck: Pain in the butt edition…

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Melanie June 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

I have a room of my own, but is all the way downstairs in the basement with the frequent spider the size of a terrier, so usually I settle for a corner of the coffee table of my own.

Melanies last blog post..So, Come Here Often?

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