A Brand New Novel
Josephine Baker, the early-20th-century African-American dancer, comic, and singer–hugely famous in Paris. Did you know that she was also a spy for the French Resistance during WWII?
After working at home for seven years — and loving every minute of it — I have decided to look for a studio elsewhere.
The reasons for this are complicated, and have much to do with my new domestic partnership (hate this term!). He works as a university professor, and when he comes home from work — usually in the early afternoon — I’m here. The result: too much togetherness. We’re both noticing the effects. The excitement of spending time together is wearing off. We’re starting to bicker.
Also, when I’ve been working at home all day, I like to get out of the house most evenings. He’s an introvert and a home-body, so this causes dissension. Being an independent gal with lots of friends, I can always do things without him, and I do, but autonomy only goes so far. I love his company.
The last time I tried working out of the house was in 2009, when I decided that writing in the bedroom made for a wearisome mix of business with pleasure. Plus, a large desk piled with papers, books, and coffee cups does not make for a sexy boudoir, or a particularly restful one.
The studio I found was delightful, but noisy due to the call center across the hall, which I had been told was moving but which never did during the four months I leased the space. As a result, I almost never worked there. It did make for a nice tax write-off, though.
I have some trepidations about trying this again. My typical workday begins with me wandering in a daze in my fluffy pink robe and a cup of strong coffee until I awaken enough to start stringing words together in a way that makes sense and satisfies my lust for beautiful language.
On the other hand, I’m excited to think of showering, getting dressed, and heading to the office first thing, as I used to do when I was a newspaper reporter. And my current work space, lovely though it is now that I’ve (finally) decorated it, offers not a bit of the direct sunlight that I need. Can I find a space that, at last, provides even a single beam for my basking pleasure?
Also, I suspect that, dishes and laundry and yard work and household clutter being out of sight, I might get more work done in an off-premises studio. Especially if I find one that doesn’t offer wi-fi. 😉
This afternoon I’m going to look at a space that seems ideal: in a converted mansion, only a few blocks from downtown, with south and west-facing windows (the south-facing windows are shaded by trees, however). It sounds too good to be true, especially at the price, but I’m not letting myself get too worked up until I’ve seen it. I won’t take it unless it’s absolutely perfect — because if I don’t love going there, I won’t.
Not having my workspace at home will change my life in so many ways that I feel a tiny bit anxious about the whole thing. But one thing I know is this: My relationship with my beloved will only improve from this change in venue. Less time in proximity to each other will only add a quality of specialness to the hours we do share — and, having been away for much of the day, I’m more likely to want to be in my beautiful house at night, with him.
I wonder about other writers, or artists, or self-employed people. Do you find it better to work at home, or do you prefer that the Room of Your Own be somewhere else? Does having an off-premises office increase your productivity? Or do you find yourself, as I suspect I’ll do from time to time, wandering about with coffee in hand, waiting for the muse, and then, when she comes, sitting at the dining table and working in that glorious light that beams in just for you?