A Room of My Own

After completing The Wonderland Trail, I more or less packed up my fall and winter clothing, my kitchen essentials, and my entire office (including most pertinent books) and moved it all up to Mercy Me Hill in Manville, Virginia.

First things first: I still live in Celo in an Airstream. That is not a sentence I am willing to revise. But I’m engaged to someone getting in-state tuition two hours north across two state lines. We’ve fashioned a compromise where in we base ourselves out of his place until he graduates, but return to the Airstream once a week when I teach a memoir class in town. With any luck, we’ll be in the Airstream for Brad’s 6-week break between semesters, too.

Second things second: Manville, VA—much like Celo, NC—isn’t technically a “place” according to the post office. But according to local signs and local language, it is by all accounts a place and a quite unique one at that. Mercy Me Hill is the name of the family land in Manville that Brad grew up on, and while the house we’re in isn’t ours, it’s a home nonetheless and a private, warm, dry, spacious one to boot. I feel lucky to share a space full of so many Quillen family memories.

Third things third: Brad and I want to live in the South Toe Valley, perhaps even Celo, after he graduates. We won’t have much moolah, but we live so simply that we don’t anticipate needing gobs of it right away and we’re both ok with the Airstream for an inbetween period of house-hunting.

All of which brings me to the subject of today’s post: a room of my own. All writers know about the famous phrase, “a room of her own,” attributed to Virginia Woolf. The Airstream was a long-inspired dream perhaps even informed by that phrase, and it’s a place I will always associate with confidence, independence, discipline, dreaming, peace, and writing. I hope that never changes. But here at Mercy Me, Brad prepared a room from which I conduct most of my work. So far, I’ve operated my Writer at Large business from this desk for a few successful weeks and I’ve taken my novel out of the drawer with steady momentum. I’ve read. I’ve prepared lectures. I’ve planned classes. I’ve meditated and done yoga. All of which is to say, it’s a good space…and nearly the same square footage in this room as half the space of my Airstream, if not more.

Giving up full time in the Airstream, in the South Toe, against the ridgeline of my beloved Black Mountains, is something so hard and fragile I can barely type these words. But getting companionship, growing my relationship, and having a spacious room to call my own brings an immeasurable return. Here are few snapshots of the room, and in the coming weeks I hope to focus on the land and surrounding hills.

My reading corner. Quite possibly my favorite spot.

Two desks–one for working, one for brainstorming.

And my very own closet. It’s the little things, eh?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.