For those of you who haven’t studied women’s literature, Virginia Woolf wrote a book called a Room of One’s Own, the premise of which noted that women are largely absent from literary cannons because they were not deemed worthy of education and were usually stuck cooking, cleaning, knitting or caring for someone instead of being able to contribute to culture at large.
She posits, what would happen if Shakespeare had a sister? Would we be reading her plays? Nope. She’d be too busy darning socks. You get the picture. The other thing this seminal woman’s manifesto suggests is that in order to create, one must have a space of her own. Ideally, of course, a room. Many of us may never have the privilege of claiming such a place.
I am fortunate to have been able to carve a space for myself in a windowless storage closet in the basement, which, I might add, I am continually reminded by three teenaged boys that it would make an excellent “gaming room.” Fat chance. This is my place of reverence and centring. A place to focus, to meditate, to honour myself and claim a space for my creative offerings. I shut the door and write or make art in a place that is just for me. A place where I can leave all my research and writing papers all over the desk and they will be exactly where I left them.
Heather Paul has worked as an art teacher, a canoe trip leader, a yoga instructor, at a men’s prison and a women’s shelter. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous publications. She currently lives with her partner, children, and dogs in Ontario.