A Room of one’s own? I think of Virginia Woolf’s novel-length essay while I squat pantsless in a hotel bathroom writing on a toilet seat. The light shines up from my phone, casting behemoth shadows onto the green wallpaper and white ceiling. I’ve stuffed my pants against the crack below the door preventing the light from escaping. Everyone else out there is sleeping. Hopefully, I didn’t wake them when I flushed the toilet for the first time this morning.
I pushed the lock on the doorknob of the only other room in our weekend living space – making a room of my own. Oliver’s little body loomed over me in the dark twice last night, waiting for me to take him to this room, “I’m scared,” he whispered, choking me with adrenaline as I woke to a dark shadow hovering by my bed and whispering in my ear.
I slid out of bed and stood in this room while he tinkled into the dark silence. Then I handed him some toilet paper because the roll is mounted just out of a seven-year-olds reach as his little body sits on the toilet.
Now here I am, writing on the same seat, but I’ve closed the lid and flushed the night’s collective urine and locked the door while two kids sleep on cushions, another sleeps on the fold-out couch, and another sleeps on one of the double beds. My husband and I share the other double bed which is kind of miserable, but I’d rather sleep with him than my thirteen-year-old son who is four inches taller than me and untrained in not touching me while I sleep.
Oop. I’ve just been evicted from my writing room. The couch bed sleeper and one of the floor cushion dwellers needed a room of their own, too. Now I’ve flushed my writing desk again and have returned to my pressing urge.
A room of one’s own? I think the absence of one has inspired a very boring piece. However, I agree with Virginia, history is too much about wars. She asks me to “write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast” (120). I wonder if she could have fathomed me writing about my children’s bodily urges and my toilet writing desk.
Thank you, Virginia Woolf, for changing the world for me.