Tuesday, October 14, 2003

A place in which to work

I pulled out May Sarton's At Seventy: A Journal. After stumbling across a notation that it was she who introduced me to Shirley Hazzard (duly corrected in my Oct. 10 entry), I found another place I had marked. Sarton quotes from a letter she received:
Your description of how throughout your life you have created environments for yourself and how these environments have influenced your work caused me to look at my world and the role physical setting has had in my life. . . . This fall I cleaned out a spare room. . . and set out to create a private place for myself. I culled photos from closed drawers, books from scattered shelves. From the corners of the house I gathered together the parts of me that I had hidden away. I hung the pictures, shelved the books, unpacked my cello, and sat and waited for the fusing to begin. (quoted on p. 263; emphasis mine)
Sarton observes "how closely bound up one's identity can be with the frame in which one lives." (p. 263) Even when she was young and lived in ugly rented rooms, she writes,
[B]y arranging books on the desk, buying a few daffodils from a cart on the street, putting up postcard reproductions of paintings I loved and a photograph or two, by leaving a brilliant scarf on the bureau, the room became my room and I began to live in it, to live my real life there, to know who May Sarton was and hoped to become. (p. 265)

No comments: