Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Fort of One's Own

I was listening to NPR on my way home from class today. The author Julia Keller was on talking about her book Back Home. The book may be interesting; I will probably never read it. I honestly wasn't paying very close attention except for one point when Keller read part of the book:

"Everybody needs a fort."

She went on to explicate; a fort is someplace we can go when we need to feel safe. When we're little, it is usual literal. It could be a fort or tree-house built in the backyard, or a tent set up in the living room. As we grow up we have tools that create a sort of metaphorical fort. We have our knowledge, our books, our experience, and these things make us feel safe in times of crisis.

This excerpt made me think of A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. It's been a long time since I read that. If I recall correctly, she is basically saying that in order for a woman to write, she has to have her own space in which to do it. A room of her own - a place that is only hers where she can create under only her own influence. (I could be totally off. It's been years, and I may not have been completely paying attention when I read it)

I think these two concepts are very closely related, and I think everybody needs both. Or I do at least. For me, they're kind of the same thing. I always need to have someplace that is just mine; a place that is my sanctuary. In my old apartment and in my parent's house now (and when I was growing up), that place is my bedroom. It's my sacred ground. Here is where I am when I need to escape the world.

When I was living in the dorms and had a roommate, I didn't really have my own space. There were several places around campus, though, where I would go to write or to simply be alone. In that case my fort or my room was more metaphorical, but the feeling I got when I visited those places is the same one I get when I retreat to my room now.

I wonder if this will change when I fall in love and get married. If I'm cohabitating, can I still have a room of my own? It can't be the bedroom. Do I have the right to insist on my own room? Actually, my dream house has a little cottage or shed in the backyard that I will make my "studio." That may be taking it a bit far.

I imagine that when I find myself settled, my room will be the library (yes, any house I live in long term will absolutely have a library. It will have lots of bookshelves, a very comfy chair, possibly a desk, and at least one grand window). This room probably won't really be sacred ground - I would never be able to deny my partner the joy of books. But it would be a place for me to go and escape when I need to. It would be my fort.

1 comment:

veganaron said...

Speaking as a cohabitatior, yes you can still have a room of your own. Mine is the garage. It has all my bikes, tools and guitar stuff. When I don't wanna speak to anyone I go in there and fiddle with a bike, or play really loud music that my roommates and partner don't like. :)