Virginia Woolf famously
said that : 'A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write
fiction'. I wholeheartedly agree. This
is not to say that a woman lives in isolation and that she cuts herself off
from the world deliberately but when she is in a state of deep focus it’s a
A woman is many
things to many people. She’s born with responsibilities and I speak from
personal experience. I was born into a family of men and I had the good fortune
(or not) to be the first born. From an early age, I was the secondary
care-giver after my mother. I had three younger brothers who were the chicks to
my mother hen.
|The room to write|
My mother was
pre-occupied with a number of contentious issues. As a young wife in the 60’s
& 70’s, she didn’t have much of an identity –a mere support for her husband.
Her “job” was little above a domestic. The tragedy of this was that my mother
was educated. However, she suffered from
first generation immigrant syndrome and did not value herself or her potential.
My mother worked for periods in her life but with four children close in age
this never developed into a career. My mother missed her family and the
sunshine of her homeland. She did not relate to the perpetual, steel grey skies
, rain that poured down like cold needles, scarves and hats that were needed to
block out the icy winds, powder white snow that turned to black ice and clothes that took three days or
more to dry in front of a fire. If not for her indomitable spirit and catholic
beliefs she would have, in today’s terms, crashed and burned.
|Let him do it so you can write|
Though my mother
worked she did not have any real money. Whatever she earned was spent on the
household and sometimes on the odd lipstick for herself. My mother was old school
and self sacrificing so much so that my father, being a man of his time, took
the dutiful daughter made me invisible so I would lock myself away for hours in my
bedroom. I read books and scribbled down random and convoluted thoughts that developed
into a proclivity for fiction and poetry. At the age of around twelve, I found
the thing that moved me and made me feel whole was writing. But what did I do
with my new found talent? I hid it away in a closet, let it out for brief periods but never shared it with anyone.
|"Me time" or else!|
A woman has many
faces; daughter, sister, wife and mother. These roles mire her in
responsibility. Some of them fit, some are uncomfortable
and some feel like a straitjacket. Though a woman can’t break free from all of her unique
responsibilities she has to make space amongst them for spiritual development.
That’s not easy when her living space is invaded by the busy and colourful
lives of her offspring and spouse. Her space might be just one clear work
surface where she sits to collate the outpourings of her heart – her cares,
woes and singular triumphs.
Money can be a
grand obstacle on her spiritual and writing journey – whether she has too
little or too much of it. If she has too little then she’s pre-occupied by
making ends meet, scrimping and darning can be wearing to her soul.
She may feel defeated even before the muse whispers intricate plots and vibrant
characters into her ear. Her head may be buzzing with ideas but her body is
fatigued. Her enthusiasm dampened by endless days on the domestic treadmill.
|Money talks....and writes best sellers|
If a woman is wealthy or marries into it, it’s not plain sailing. She may be a
trophy wife and the money isn’t truly hers. She has to “work “ for it by
painting on a false smile, being beautifully coiffured, immaculately dressed
whilst giving all and sundry the impression that she has the perfect life.
Money does provide more than a few comforts and she’ll have a small army to
take care of the chores but this is not true independence; especially if
there’s an overbearing husband in the background.
When a woman's in writing mode she has to lock herself away in a customised hideaway that can take the shape of
a variety of forms – a den, a desk tucked away in the corner of her bedroom, a
cafe, a shed at the bottom of the garden and even her car.
What’s important is
that she’s not fussing over runny noses, untied shoelaces, meat and vegetables,
dirty dishes and a mountain of laundry.
|Woman of substance|
Oh yes, a room
of your own and money that belongs to you will enhance your writing skills by just allowing you to
do it...but my advice to all budding writers is just do it anyway....amidst the
chaos of your domestic life.
|Writing on a wave|
If you persevere you never know what inspiration
it may bring and
that's the key to success and.....good writing!