One of the things I love the most about writing is that it’s just me and my computer. Some days the words come easily, and my fingers glide quickly over the keyboard. More times than not, it’s like pulling teeth as I sit and stare at the screen, willing something witty and clever to magically appear. No matter how hard or easy it is, I’m the boss.
Unlike my previous creative attempts of singing and acting, there is no audience to please unless I want there to be. My writing can be as private or as public as I decide. It’s one of the few times in my life where I feel completely in charge.
As I sit in my office, which in reality is just a corner of the bedroom I share with my husband, I feel at home and at peace.
The desk I use was once my grandmother’s. The same grandmother that I’m named after. I wonder what Catherine would think of my blog. Would she be surprised that I found my calling in writing instead of performing on a stage? Or would she be horrified that I share moments of my life as a mom with anyone who happens to click onto my site?
I know she would cringe if she saw her beautiful mahogany desk covered with scraps of paper, coffee mugs, half-sharpened pencils, and pen caps.
I had first attempted to use my grandmother’s desk just as she did, as a dressing table. My makeup and brushes were neatly arranged on a tray I bought just for that purpose. I was thrilled to finally have a place to keep my perfume, the tiny vases, and boxes I collected or had been given throughout the years.
It looked really, really, pretty, for about a day. That was all it took for my daughter to decide that the jewelry, makeup, and perfume was just too tempting.
Truth be told, I’m not the dressing-table type.
It was almost five years ago, when our youngest child started kindergarten, that I started to write down the thoughts and stories that friends, teachers, and doctors had been telling me to do for years.
When I started my blog, I used the computer we keep in the living room. A few weeks after my site went live, my husband bought me my first laptop and it soon became clear that I needed a space that was all mine. For the first time since becoming a mom, I laid claimed to a place that belonged only to me. Even Joe is banned from using it, except when he edits me.
This was unusual for me. I have always been the type of person who had no problem sharing my space, food, and possessions with my family. Oddly enough, as soon as I stood up for my right to have my own space, everyone respected it.
I love that whenever I lift my head up from the keyboard I can see the pictures I keep on the pin board behind my desk. Images of my kids as babies and toddlers surround me, as well as pictures of a younger and thinner me. Pieces of paper with story ideas and to-do lists are there to remind me of all the things that always need to be accomplished as a blogger and a mom.
I not only love my corner of the world, I need it. A place that’s all mine and where I can not only remember the woman I was before I became a mom, I can work on the woman that I will be after my kids leave the nest.
*This essay is an updated version of a piece that ran on the Dishwasher July 1, 2012, under the title, My Own Little Corner of the World.
** Just a note, the Dishwasher and I will be a vacation next week. Look out for a new essay from me and the crazed appliance on August 23.