Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Room of My Own

The windowsill of the apartment on Via della Scala. The cool limestone steps of the Seu Cathedral, Palma, Mallorca. The classroom of a Gramercy Park elementary school. The leather bench of a public bus in Salvador de Bahia, Brasil (right before it was hijacked and I was almost killed at gunpoint…but that’s another story, another post).

I’ve written in many places in many countries. But, I’ve never found such solace as I have here—in the high-backed wooden chair, on the crumbling bricks of my terrace. This would be a poor man’s retreat anywhere else in the world: cramped, open to the prying eyes of neighbors, air redolent with yeast and diesel fuel. But, it’s mine. A room of my very own. I’m not borrowing a cafĂ© table for an hour, inclined to buy cup after cup of overpriced caffeine. I don’t have to shift positions—into and out of the blazing noontime Mediterranean sun—to read the words on my page. If the sentences don’t come and I feel tired, a nap is allowed. If I’m hungry, I’ll fix a plate of cheese and crackers, a small glass of red. I do and feel and write whatever I please. Of course, there are consequences to pay. If my editor doesn’t see the beauty of the words, I’m forced to rewrite. If my schemes and plans for the future don’t pan out, I look to that last glass of Barolo for my failure. But I'm learning. This is my life. This is a room of my own.

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