Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Open Studio

I'm reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes, a book about a particular collection of objects that is passed down to the author, Edmund de Waal. As he traces their journey, he steps through the door to his family's history as well and learns much more than he could have imagined. This week I also looked through Where Women Create, a magazine showing the work spaces of women artists, and I wondered what one of my work spaces says about me. Here are some of the views of my writing space.

If you sat at my desk and turned your head to the left, this is what you would see. In the first column of shelves are what remain of the books my parents read to me as well as books I read to my children and grandchildren and children's books I bought on trips to foreign countries. In the middle section you see my blue Smith Corona from my freshman year in college and above that, a step below the center of this section is a storyteller from Santa Fe and poetry books from when I was writing poetry. The third section is Judaica, the history of my genetic makeup. Each item on these shelves is connected to a specific memory and touching any of those things transports me to my past.

If I look up from my computer, I see a shelf of my aspirations and books and nichos I've created. I think this shelf is is about what I want for myself.

I like that part of me that is so earnest about creating and is mostly appreciative, looking back, on what I accomplished. At the time it may have been a much different story, but with time, lots of it looks better to me now than then. When I learned about putting books together with binder rings, it gave me an enormous sense of freedom. The first books are the ones at the top. You can see the covers. They're alphabet books containing quotes, cards, stuff I liked at the time. Below these books are three containing a cache of cards I thought I might use as a writing prompt. I'm sure there's a book there I doubt I'll ever write. There are journals from trips and art journals and in the lower left, an accordion book I created with the most delicious Indian orange pages. I think these must be my personal museum shelves.

There's a soulful continuity here I didn't appreciate before I started writing this blog. I began writing about something completely different, and I'm not sure how I segued into where I am at the moment. I'm glad I trusted the need to refocus my writing. Now I can see why I like being in this room.

When I write, I learn things about myself I didn't know before. What I see in this writing is the way I've been able to trust and invest and reinvent myself over my lifetime. It's very comforting to know, especially when I'm currently stewing over an unresolved issues it seems I should be able to let go of or change. 

Baruch ata adonai...this morning I woke up very early and gave myself unstressed time to read and write. I'm grateful I didn't continue to stay in bed and think about what I would do today. Now I feel very ready to enjoy what will arrive through my open door. May I resolve the unresolved and be a more loving person today. Amen


  1. Beautiful writing space, Barbara. I love how you have honored these items and what the times they represent in your life. I love the clean lines and colors as well.

  2. Lovely writing space, I can see how it could inspire me...
    Just a quick foot note...the first thing that popped out at me is your typewrite...I think mine is pretty much like yours...(It's been a while since I had it out of it's case! TFS

  3. Beautiful studio. It´s so interesting what our living spaces says about us... and how they change as we change. One of the things I love about spaces like yours is that they are related to the story of the person who uses it and holds a deep meaning to this person. A month ago or so, I finally ended the makeover of my own studio and now it´s much closer to who I am right now. I am so happy with it!