All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point—a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved.
-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
And so I have come to the end of my summer of madness and re entered the world of Team effort and the Southside Studios with no clear plan or deadlines to meet. The only project in mind is my culmination of the work with the group over the year and the question of what I’ll be producing at the end. However one thing is abundantly clear to me, and that is that I need space of my own to write.
I suppose it’s not a new concept or a groundbreaking realization, but what I have missed over the past two months is a space for work/ reflection/ administration/ creating. Being in full time rehearsals and having an out of office on or hastily responding to emails in break times has not been the best way to work. However, I realise that is the way it has to be sometimes, but still need to balance this with a place to base myself and focus. The Southside Studios has been a haven for me and allowed my work to have a place of it’s own.
This has led me to wonder, as Woolf did, to what extent does money (and opportunity of a room of one’s own) lead to professional success. I feel having a studio has given me and my work a sense of worth – that it is contained in a long white cube, created in an environment built for that purpose in a space with lots of creative energies flowing.
But does it make me more of a writer? When I am able to say “I am going to work” or “This is where I work” – does it legitimise the work? I must confess that for the first time I have felt less of a fraud. I have felt that my writing and theatre-making has clearly become my work.
But, like the narrator of A Room of One’s Own, money is the factor that prevents women from having a room of their own, and thus, gaining power and success. And my lack of money may lead to the same conclusion. If poor women remain in second place to creative men, will I be in second place to those who can fund a room of their own? Also, Woolf talks of interruptions and how difficult it is to avoid distraction. Without this private space it is almost impossible to keep focus on the task in hand, something I’ve been guilty of in the past. It has been a valuable resource, and one thing I’ve learned over this past year is that I have to have this space and continue in this way of working.