I was reading an article the other day about women's issues, and the author mentioned A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. I hadn't thought about that book since a course on 20th Century women writers, but I pulled it out and started looking through it again. It's a ground-breaking piece of writing that examines the various societal situations that limited a woman's ability to become a successful writer. She says that in order to write, you need a place to do it. You need somewhere to think - somewhere to generate creative ideas, distill those ideas, and then get them down cohesively on paper. That's a long process, and a demanding one. Interruptions cause you to lose your train of thought, and it's hard to get back into the zone. In order to have a private place to do such thinking and writing, a woman needed money of her own, or a wealthy, supportive family situation that would afford her access to such privacy and leisure time. English literature's most celebrated women authors, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Emily Bronte, were all wealthy - not wealthy because they were successful writers, but the reverse - they were successful writers because they were wealthy.
By the standards of those days, today, we are all wealthy. We have such unimaginable luxuries as hot and cold running water inside our home. And even if we work full time, most of us have plenty of leisure time. Today, I would argue, the importance of a room of one's own is metaphorical. We have plenty of space to call our own, but how often do we go there? I think that it is essential to carve out a space in our day where we can get outside of our lives and inside our head. We need to let our minds wander. For me, and probably for you too, this is the space that knitting creates. This place where we allow our brains to enter a creative state - a problem-solving state.
We are so fortunate for the women who came before and fought for our right to have an independent income, own property, and devote leisure time as we please. We all have a room of our own. We just need to make sure we go there regularly.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. If you can't find your room, you are always welcome at ours.