I’ve long been a proponent of non-traditional housing.
I’ve couchsurfed while on extended travels. And I’ve traveled so extensively I’ve had to convince people (most recently unsuccessfully) that I don’t live or have any expectation of living in this place rather than that.
What I’ve never really done is attempted to establish a room of my own.
I was reminded of Virginia Woolf’s infamous lectures of a similar name exploring “women and fiction” delivered at the then recently established women’s college of Newnham at Cambridge, whilst at a lecture on London’s Soane House Museum at Boston’s St. Botolph’s Club.
Woolf argued that in order for a woman to have the luxury of writing fiction, she had to have an income and space of her own.
Sir John Soane, the son of a brick layer, became one of England’s great architect’s and the home he spent a lifetime building and renovating has become one of the world’s greatest house museums. Our lecturer at St. Botolph’s quoted some famous historian as saying he didn’t just build a house he built a poem.
I don’t think I’ve ever built anything.
At dinner after the lecture in which I learned it was possible to build a poem, I was seated next to a distinguished older couple who lived a couple door’s down from the Club on Comm Av. I learned she grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. He had spent time living and working in England.
After coffee and dessert, as we were saying our goodbyes, I don’t know what exactly foreshadowed the question, but the husband of the woman who grew up in Overland Park asked if I had a permanent address.
While I’m not sure I could ever legitimately claim to have a permanent address of my own — I’ve always been rather transient — now, more than ever, I’m transient.
I think that sense of freedom is generally a good thing, though in the list of ten things I’d like to have in my life in the next ten years, a room of my own ranks pretty high.