Last night I had that dream, the one in which I wander through my house and discover (or remember) unused rooms.
The rooms were furnished, big armchairs and tables. Kitchens. I walked around, stunned. All these rooms, I kept thinking. All the time I've had all these rooms! Many years ago, when I was trying to get pregnant, and then trying to adopt, I would find nurseries. These rooms were writing spaces.
Two years ago my daughter Annie, who had all her life up to that moment shared a bedroom with her twin sister, decided she had to have her own space. I was trying to work (grading papers at UBS in their coffee shop) and she kept texting and calling, crying, angry because I wouldn't fix this situation immediately.
Then, a woman sitting on the couch across from me moved over and asked me what was going on. My first thought, was "how rude." But we chatted and -- I don't know if this will hit you the way it hit me, as one of the universe's amazing coincidences -- I discovered that she is an adoption counselor who specializes in teens. And you know we're an adoptive family, right?
I explained that Annie had decided she should have my office, which also serves as our guest room -- a fourth bedroom downstairs in our house. We'd been wrangling peaceably about this for a while, with me holding my ground. But now some conflict between the girls had accelerated it. Annie was really, really upset. I explained the whole dynamic. She listened attentively, then said, "Give her the room."
I put my student papers back in my bookbag and I went home and moved out of my office. You should know, too, that I am not good at this sort of thing, but the girls' best friend Shana stopped by (she's really good at that stuff) and pitched in to help. Within two hours, my office was stored in a corner of the playroom and Annie had her own bedroom. Did I feel good about losing my home office? No. Did I love the bliss Annie was communicating with her every expression and gesture? Yes.
For a while I coped with my corner of the playroom. Then I gave up. I don't have a home office anymore. I have a green chair in the corner of the living room (which works when no one is awake in the house except me), and I have my car, where I write a surprising amount.
Where do you write?