A Fortress for the creative self


In the book “A House of my Own” by Sandra Cisneros, she writes: “At sixty I want a house pared down to what nourishes my spirit.”

Also: “What I’ve longed for is a refuge as spiritual as a monastery, as private as a cloistered convent… a fortress for the creative self.”

I read these words recently and identified strongly with them.

I have longed for this kind of nourishing, personal, private space all my adult life, and have only occasionally – fleetingly – had it. Other things always took precedence over nourishing my spirit.  It fell low on my priority list.  It seemed too selfish.  Too much of a privilege.  Who was I to expect this kind of luxury?

But now that I am in my sixties, and highly aware of time ticking by so briskly, I no longer compromise about things that are essential to my well-being. We are currently looking for a new house, and finding one with some private space for me is non-negotiable.

I need solitude in order to unclutter my mind, gain clarity, and allow ideas to flow. I also need it in order to be my more peaceful, centered, contented self, and not my cantankerous, evil twin.

I am lucky that my love understands and respects my requirement for quiet, alone time. But it is never enough, and I am always fighting off intruders and distractions, like my long list of things to do, social obligations, and too much social media.

My hope is that in our new house, and for as much as possible in the coming years, I will take full advantage of having my own refuge.  I want to fully appreciate having arrived at this time when I know so surely what feeds me, and how vital that nourishment is.

“One can never be alone enough to write. To see better.”  – Susan Sontag

P.S. The photo in this post is of my current home office space

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