Friday, April 4, 2008

Feathering My Nest

Nesting is not an instinct of mine. A friend of mine bought a house a few months ago, and already it looks beautifully homey—pictures on walls, bright pillow arrangements, knick-knacks artfully displayed.

In comparison, I moved into my house three years ago, and my walls remain mostly barren, the home lacking much indication of who we are. Now, in my defense, having bought our home from my Great-Aunt Minnie, who God bless her, hadn’t done much to it since the 1970s, it took three years to transform the kitchen from a superfund site (see photo!), repair plumbing, replace ceilings, remove wallpaper, paint the entire interior and put down new carpet. So when in February we finally completed our initial work plan by having the floors refinished, maybe I just needed a break.

But recently, my lack of a comfortable work space began to bother me. And perhaps my vacation, where we stayed in other people’s homes for 12 nights straight, elevated my need to have a little corner of the world all to myself. So this week, I finally finished fixing the wall in my office. Then I set out to create an artist’s altar for myself, one of my assignments from The Artist’s Way. The idea is to have a place that belongs solely to me, a place filled with things that inspire me and lift my spirits.

So after a week of work, I now sit at my brand new desk, looking out my front windows at the dogwood tree that is just beginning to think about blooming. To my left are two curvy glass vases that fit into each other like puzzle pieces, one a deep pink and one carnation. To my right is a magenta candle, lit, in a black ceramic dish. On the windowsill are two fuchsia frames—one for a photograph of hot pink tulips and one for a card I received when I left my job that says “Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go where your heart takes you.” In either corner sits a new lamp, one short with a long, narrow pink shade, the other a floor lamp with a multi-colored shade covered in circles, stars and flowers.

And sitting here, well, it feels like home. My very own writer’s home.

What I have learned is that we get back what we give out. So having put energy into my work space, through physical work, thought, time, and money, my work space is now giving energy back to me, through inspiration, comfort, motivation and joy. Pretty good trade.


sulu-design said...

I loved reading this post, as we'd shared living quarters for a good deal of time. And while we've joked about our once polar opposite approaches to housekeeping, I've always admired how you surround yourself with things that are so laden with meaning to you... the little mariachi dolls from Mexico, photos of loved ones, things that keep you close to that which you cherish. Enjoy your writer's nest.

Mr. Ackerman said...

I try to do the same thing at school. My desk has a 1997 Boston College football poster and photos from our wedding posted on the wall. I wish the classroom was as inspiring for the students as it is for me.

smacker925 said...

I am facing the challenge of raising my family and lately I have been reading a lot about creating a space that is all yours. I have been in this house for atleast 4 years and have still not accomplished it. I am so proud that you have and just reading about it brought me more peace. The journeys you are experiencing now will help to make you a stronger parent if you choose that path at some point.

Claire said...

Hi, Julie. What a coincidence that this week Richard and I spent an hour and half cleaning our new apartment. We hope to do this every week. It seems such an ordinary thing to make one's home organized, conscious, beautiful and habitable. But it does not come easy to me. And I much prefer decorating to cleaning! Here's hoping we will do this every week as we have pledged. There are still many boxes needing to be unpacked, but it is satisfying to make a dent in the job. Yes, what you put into is what you get out. And we all benefit from what you put on this blog.

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