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Space

Updated: May 18, 2020


What elements conspire and convene in order to allow creation to happen? There are so many! But for me, at least, the first thing that comes to mind is space: mental, physical, and emotional space. These are things I really don’t have. At least not all together, not anymore. Not as a single mom, homeowner, now at-home college professor, workshop facilitator, writer, and editor. I haven’t had that kind of space for years. Not since living in my own studio apartment in Paris, and then Thailand. Is having space a luxury? One I took for granted when I actually had it? I think so. Now, with Covid-19, I literally have to barricade myself in the bathroom to take an uninterrupted shower—how the heck am I supposed to write?! Even as I type this, I fight for the space to create. “What is eight minus four?” my seven year old asks. Click click click of my keyboard. “Guess. Guess what it is!” he demands. “Huh?” Click click click. “What is eight minus four?” he asks again. “I’m working!” I say in frustration, after weeks of trying to explain that when I am typing on my computer, I am working. Not to disturb me. But he is seven. His mom is home and he wants attention. Now. I close my eyes. I need space! I scream internally. But there is literally nowhere to go. “What? What did you ask me?” “What is eight minus four?” he responds, endlessly patient. He can ask this question all day long. And he will, until he gets an answer. Of course, he knows the answer, but he is testing me to see if I know the answer. I give in. I give up. Stop typing and take a deep breath. “Four,” I reply. He wanders away, only to come back a few moments later, with another question, or this time maybe it’s an observation, or he wants to show me a cool thing he made or drew, or read me a passage from his Dogman book. Or maybe he is hungry, or has to go to the bathroom and feels the need to tell me. It is nearly constant. And of course, it doesn’t stop there. Letters stack up in the mailbox, groceries wait to be unpacked, dishes pile up in the sink, dust bunnies collect in the corners, laundry wants constant folding, weeds crop up in the freshly planted garden, projects ask to be completed, papers to be de-cluttered, drains beg to be unclogged, closets desire organization, and it goes on and on and on. What is space? It is something I don’t have. And yet I must carve out some of it for me, for my own creations. I close my eyes again. What is space? It is limitless. It is unfathomable. It is gorgeous stars sparking in the night sky. It is a radiant moon rising orange on the horizon. It is free movement, dancing, spinning, with arms outstretched. It is time to contemplate. It is silence. It is room to breathe. Before the virus, I was already craving space and that’s how I thought up the title for this blog. Now, it feels even more relevant. I don’t have the answers, but I do have the desire to search for them. To find a way, in this enormous moment in our lives, to create. The first step, for me, is to carve or hack or bulldoze or make with sheer force of will, the space that I need to create. And to take it when it comes, moment by interrupted moment. Note: This post has taken me three weeks to write, because I do not have any of the types of space I need to create. But I am determined to keep coming back to the page, to start over again and again until it is done. Not done perfectly, but done enough.

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