Courting the Muse
April 17, 2016
The house shelters daydreaming,
the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.
-Gaston Bachelard, from The Poetics of Space
I find that I am home more than I am away. Even though I travel to both teach and perform my work, and although I engage in no small number of social events, for me, like so many of you, everything begins and ends at home.
Besides creating a nurturing environment to live in, for myself as well as my family, I try to create a nurturing environment to write in.
As a writer, daydreaming is not an indulgence but a necessity. Just as necessary as cooking dinner, dusting the bookshelves, organizing the pantry, and paying the electric bill.
I freely admit to sometimes feeling that daydreaming is indulgent. How unproductive it can seem to be reading something poignant and put the book down for what I believed to be a few seconds only to discover I have been staring at a wall for ten minutes. But I know this: I am a better writer when I daydream, when I slip out of measurable time and into something else. I don’t know what that someplace is called, only that I need it. Like dinner, like dust-free books, like a stocked pantry, and especially like electricity.
Despite my determination it can be all too easy to abandon the practice of daydreaming and make lists in my head. Cut back the dead wood on the lilacs and forsythia, buy olive oil, breakdown that cardboard to fit in the recycling bin. It’s no surprise I am distracted now, in spring- the season of action.
So with my propensity for action but with the necessity of a good daydreaming practice in mind, I set out to quiet down the sitting room in my house. I quieted it by making roman shades.
This is not the place to look for a tutorial on roman shades and I am not going to tell you how to make the best sitting room for daydreaming. Hardly. Your house is distinctly yours- and I believe that your house has a personality and will tell you what is necessary. You just have to listen.
Instead, this is the place where I show my daydream place. Even if it just looks like a designer’s visual work, it’s also a writer’s interior work to somehow explain the transference of energy in a lived-in space- one that had full light in the daytime and windows of black holes at night to one that encourages the filtering of light for interior reflection- of all kinds.