Discovering a Sense of Boundaries: a Room of One’s Own

Magickal Realism Studio Shots
actual shot of one part of my studio/office - perfume area

We’re supposed to detail what we can do to ensure peace while we do our work. I’m actually pretty fortunate. While I share a studio/office with my husband in our apartment, he works during the week and I get the place to myself. Sometimes I get a little too much alone time. But then I try to balance it with a social life and I run into friends calling me when they know I’m working (some of them also artists and writers who most certainly know better) and I do end up having to incorporate control measures.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1. I do not answer the phone before 3 pm, unless I’ve already finished my writing minimums. I do my best writing in the morning, and if there’s an emergency Mike can communicate with me via Google Talk. Since I suffer lately from insomnia, it jacks my sleep schedule, so sometimes I have to move the no calls to 5 pm or even midnight. It all depends on the day.

2. When I really need to get out, there is normally a library across the street. Unfortunately it’s undergoing renovations, and trips to the downtown library I try to save for special occasions. There are no good coffee shops in walking distance (when you’re carrying a laptop and about seven pounds of notes anyway.)  I am hoping we get an umbrella for our balcony table soon so at least I can work outside more. In 2011 I’ll have my library branch back, with more space for wandering writers. It’s OK, I can wait.

3. Still need to find “my” coffeeshop. So far my favorite is one in Dinkytown I’ve frequented since I moved to the Cities, although I feel vaguely guilty for going so far outside my neighborhood. I need to work on my driver’s guilt, and get over it. Maybe a SmartCar will help. I can take the bus, and I do, but it’s not that cost effective, and since my sweetie and I share a car, sometimes it’s just preferable to drive. I realize I’m also over-acclimating to Minneapolis culture, where you find businesses in “your” neighborhood and stick to them at the exclusion of all else.

4. Refusing all collaborations. This is new, based on past experience. I love the idea of a collaborative project, but mostly I find them all talk and very little action, with people getting upset at basic task delineation. Since I do have a gift for organization, which is necessary to make collaborations successful, and that gift is denied, I’ll just keep my cookies at home. I’ve found “collaboration” to be a tremendous energy suck. If I were working in TV scripting where people have a lot of practice at teamwork and creative building, it might be different. But for me as an individual writer and creator, I’ve decided my best answer to all of it right now is “no.” I did want to collaborate with my father on a spy novel before he died, and I think I will take it up as a comedy later on with the one or two pages he’d written woven in somehow. Although looking back, “Papa” was an unfortunate choice for a character name and probably triggered some of his own issues with his “papa.”

Part of me wants to soften these, which is a sign I really need them – knowing people will get pissed off at me means I am making a change that will be meaningful to me.

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