I have a room of my own in my head. Like Virginia Woolf said, in her diary, just before her book “A room of one’s own” came out,”These October days are to me a little strained and surrounded with silence. What I mean by this last word I don’t quite know, since I have never stopped “seeing” people… No, it’s not physical silence; it’s some inner loneliness.“the impulse to create begins — often terribly and fearfully — in a tunnel of silence,”
In the tunnel of silence Virginia talks about how she touches on her reality, a world more real than often the outer world, a world where ‘is-ness’, surfaces and needs help to be expressed. This world is the source of her creative work. As Virginia says: “and when I wake early I say to myself Fight, fight. If I could catch the feeling, I would; the feeling of the singing of the real world, as one is driven by loneliness and silence from the habitable world…”
I often wake early and a thought, words from an inner world where things get created, a library of thought, arises and wakes me up to the reality of things.
This morning that thought was “I have a room of my own in my head”. This room is a reality I can’t share and need for myself, a source of inspiration in the literal sense of the word. Where I breathe IN, fill up with a new view on reality, however small sometimes. I need that room even though it has caused me agony, given me an existential experience of loneliness that no intimacy can shatter. As a stranger living in a foreign land I used my foreignness as reason for the existence of the room, for the feeling of separateness. Now I know better, the room is my own, no matter where I am.
It doesn’t matter if I am family, or with friends, I feel the separateness. To touch reality, I don’t have to escape these people, I don’t have to go to far countries to belong. I was the child who sat in the corner reading a book, near the rest of the family playing cards together. The book was more ‘reality’ for me then than the circle I belonged to. Living among people let me discover my belonging has a chamber, a bubble of my own in it.
As Virginia Woolf pointed out, original thoughts surface as the source of reality in a room of one’s own contrasts with the reality of living. I need both to find those thoughts, thoughts that color my actions, drive me forward in life. As a human I need the connection with other humans, the deep belonging. As a human I also need the separateness to infuse life with new thought, new inspiration to live creatively. A room of my own leads me to, as the Buddhists call it, “the sound of one hand clapping”, a deeper, more intimate understanding of the reality of things.