Saturday, January 1, 2022

A room with a view.

A new year, a new perspective.

After my father's funeral, I stayed on at Papa Callan's house for a couple more weeks.  I cleaned and dusted and did lots of laundry.  I packed up my own belongings--my books and papers, my yoga mat, my ukulele, my paintbrushes and paints and sketchpads.  Truthfully, it was hard to leave the house where so much had happened--some things joyful, some things heart breakingly sad).  After eight months living in Papa Callan's abode, I had trouble saying goodbye.  Everything in the house reminded me of my father.  And if it weren't for my husband driving down to rescue me from myself, I'd probably be stuck in some kind of time loop and still be waking up every morning, making coffee for Papa Callan and talking about the day's agenda.

At last, I am back home, where I belong and in fact, I'm back into my novel.  With a new year, I decided to move my writing desk into the guest bedroom.

I placed it in front of the window to give myself a new perspective.  And so, I am now looking out at our red barns.  And if I get stuck on my novel, I can distract myself by looking out at the turkeys.

I don't think I would have come up with this idea if I hadn't spent the last seven months living with my Papa Callan.  I had my own separate suite in the back room--a bedroom, an office and a bathroom.  It was once called the mother-in-law suite, but I made it mine.  I moved around the furniture and placed the desk in front of the window so that I faced the backyard.  I had trouble sleeping in those days, because I was often worried about Papa Callan and what the new day would present.  And so, I often watched the dawn from this vantage point.  I watched the deer silently pad out in the early morning light and nibble on the dewy grass.  I watched a white cat come and go and leap over a neighbor's fence and then disappear.  I saw wild bunnies.  Oh, and birds.  Lots of birds.

And believe it or not, I got a lot of writing done.  My imagination went into some unexpected and wild directions.  I'm not sure whether it was being away from home, or the experience of being a caregiver, or being with Papa Callan who had quite an imagination.

I do know that the change of view helped me.  In my experience this is the most valuable thing about going to an artists retreat.  You get a clean slate.  You are away from all the familiar things and you are away from the distractions of your ordinary life.  You see the world with new eyes.

Creative friends, it's a new year!  Move your space.  Look out a different window.  Change your perspective.  Even if you live in a tiny apartment, you can turn your table around and face a different direction.  You can take your tools (your laptop, your paint brushes, your guitar or your Smith Corona) outside and sit on a park bench.  You can work on the subway, in your laundry room, on top of your roof, in a closet.  The point is not so much the place, but the change.  A room with a view is a metaphor for opening your heart and mind and looking at the world anew. 

And so, your assignment for this week is to change your workspace.  

And as always, have fun!



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