Friday, July 18, 2008

Working In Small Spaces & Living In Snuggeries...

"When I cannot write, I think about the pleasures
of small spaces like this porch. If I have to stay in a large place I immediately reduce it. I do not want a choice of aspects but the limitation of one, so my mind will stay fixed on what I am doing and nothing irrelevant will be suggested to me, no distraction by variety. In one day, I settle into a routine to match the small space. There are whole areas of any new place that I will never explore, certainly never stay in for very long. I have no curiosity about unvisited or unused space, feeling grateful for the protection of the narrow corner I have created."

~ Doris Grumbach, Coming Into The Endzone ~

My writing/fiber/art corner...

It came to me, as a rather curious thing, that we all have our comfort-modes in the way we live, work, and have our being in the world. The above picture was taken early December 2007. In January I took a bad fall, tore the tendon in my ankle and broke my wrist very badly, taking months to heal, so my life as a two-handed fiber artist came to a halt, I had to close my etsy store, which broke my heart, and all of the fiber things you see above have been moved to my upstairs fiber room and have been replaced by tons of books and reference materials for the big book I'm working on plus the smaller books I will self publish through Dragonfly Cottage Press.

The difference, I have realized, has made me sad, because I need a space for writing and fiber work simultaneously, which gives the cottage a rather cattywompus look, but with all the birds and dogs one hardly notices. And then today I came upon a word I have fallen in love with and which describes the kind of space I love to a "T". The word is snuggery. A snuggery is a "small secluded space."All of my life I have loved and created snuggeries, from the time I was little, growing up in a 4,000 square foot house, to the married with children years when we lived in a 3,000 square foot house, even to now when I have a total of 1,000 square feet, 500 on each floor, and for the first time feel that I live in a cozy, manageable place. I do long for a little more space with a fenced yard for the dogs and a special sun room for the birds, but even then, like now, I will have created a small corner to live, work and have my being in. I like to be surrounded by my things.

I am completely enamored of people who have created such spaces and places, and I must admit, my favorite of all is Dan Price who has published The Moonlight Chronicles for eons and lives in an underground Hobbit Hole. You heard me. A hobbit hole. Click on the links to read about the most amazing man in the universe. At least he is to me.

I first ran into Dan's work when I was publishing my own 'zine and I am about to start another. Yes, I'm working on The Big Book, but I'm a 'ziner at heart. My new 'zine is called Compassion*Zine and is well underway. I am not, like Dan, a hermit in a hobbit hole, but rather an anchorite in a zoo. I'm not sure which one of us has more fun!

Too, I love little things. I am not a little woman. I am losing weight now but I will always be what I like to think of as Goddess-shaped because it fits my sense of whimsy and adoration of the Goddess, which is why one of my favorite poems is Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman. Child, I read that poem and it just makes me sassy! Here's the first stanza...

"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me."

Maya is a strong, very tall woman who really is a Goddess and one of our most gifted poets. And I have to smile when I reread the above, because while I am losing weight I am quite comfortable in my own skin and have a very womanly body. And my 4 year old grandson, wee tiny innocent boy that he is, said, "Grandma, I love you TOO much. And you're fat. You're nice and soft and squishy. Everybody else is too straight up and down." When I told him I'm losing weight he said "Not TOO much!" Apparently squishy grandmother's are all the rage!

But though I be not a small woman, I love tiny things. I imagine a built-into-the-wall dollhouse that I can fill with handmade dolls and wee creatures and things for little ones (and myself!) to play with. Someday I shall probably be followed about by a herd of pugs, and no matter the rugs, we won't have any then! We will have a little more space to play and work and garden and hide, and if we won't have a hobbit hole like Dan does, we can still dream about such things, and make our own little (if a little bit bigger) snuggery of our own.

I have been dreaming about my next living space. I love the old cottagey bungalow houses from the 30's and 40's with big eat in kitchens and plenty of space to cook and feed your loved ones in. I have to have a big creative space that will house floor to ceiling books and fiber taking up as much or more room, and Tallulah the vintage dress form that you can see above wearing the Rainbow Serpent Of The Dreamtime that has longsince been sold, made completely of my own handspun yarns. I want space to make wearable art from recycled clothing and more, I want to be surrounded by vintage things and living things and too many flowers and herbs to count.

I am dreaming, envisioning my way into the reality that I want to create, and I want one room for the Small Press Room, a place to have the light table and the artwork, fonts and collages and more. My 'zines have all been hand-done, cut and paste, and while this one will utilize the computer in the main, it will still have a very hand-done feel because that's who I am. Fortunately, with small print-on-demand presses like around to do the printing work, it becomes far more affordable to do such a thing, but the magic and joy is in the work itself. I have a slavish devotion to small books one can hold in the hands and revel in.

And mind, I have plenty of help around here. Henry (the grey parrot) is the Office Manager and Man of the House. Moe, the Big Black Dog, is the the peacekeeper, and also my body guard. Sampson wards people off with sloppy kisses if they get too close. If you don't have the right password you will never get past wee little black Babs at the front door. She may be the littlest pug in the house, deaf as a door and going blind, but trust me when I say that she has "special powers" and nothing and nobody gets past her, and if you cause her to get irate, well, she'll go all alpha puggish on you and this just isn't a pretty sight.

Blossom, the Greater Sulfur Crested cockatoo, and Coco, the cream puff pug, are sheer eye candy and get by with murder because they are beautiful. Actually, Coco doesn't really pose any problems. Blossom has eaten the woodwork, the couch, a great many expensive garden books and more, but she and Coco are the glamour girls here. The rest of the birds answer phone calls, e-mails, and poop on the ones they don't like. Vincent, the golden yellow beta fish is an old soul, wise sage, and philosopher, and guides me in all that I do. Yessirree, I have a staff that I can depend on, and we do quite well in our tiny place.

I have been giving quite a lot of thought to the kind of place I will be moving into in the near future and I was most delighted when I came upon my new favorite word. We have discussed it and even shy Moe agrees. It has to be a snuggery. A Puggery Snuggery. That's where we will be living.

As one door closes, another opens. I have doors opening and closing everywhere in my life right now. Sometimes, it just helps to dream...

I send love, armloads of flowers from the garden, and oh, I wish you could smell the gorgeous fragrance just outside the front door of the cottage right now. The flowering ginger is blooming, and I almost swoon when I open the door. Despite the pain of the world, life is so full of so many wonderful things.


Maitri, dreaming of snuggeries and puggeries and little things...


Craft Junkie said...

Your words, your thoughts, they take me to another place in myself whenever I sit in the quiet and not just read but truly absorb them. It's as though I am transported to another incarnation where my dreams live and you, with your unbeleivable skills as a writer from the heart, are the only one as of late who can take me there.

You have done that magical feat once again, here.

I truly adore you, Maitri. Most truly.

Debbie said...

I have been focusing on write about yours.... such rich language, allows me to dream on...

Petra Voegtle said...

Namaste Maitri - a joy to read your posts and I can follow your thoughts more than you would assume.
Keep going with your own world - I am glad that there are people in this world like you - so there is hope...
It's the little things that count not the brouhaha.
Maybe you would enjoy my "Pigeon Tales" on wordpress: - the diary of a whole pigeon family and their stories...
Warmest greetings from Munich,

Henson Ray said...

Snuggery. What a great word. It perfectly describes a place you would want to spend time in. I imagine if the word had been around in Shakespeare's time, Hamlet might have said something slightly different to Ophelia, when he tells her to "Get ye to a Snuggery." (Actually, he says "Nunnery," but I like your idea better.)

(BTW, I love miniatures too. I have a whole collection of Disney miniatures by Robert Olszewski, an expert in creating miniatures...there's just something very cool about little things. Except little paychecks, which no one much likes.)

Mama Kelly said...

You fill me with such hope. To turn my living space into a snuggery for one as well as to allow myself to dream of the life, the future I want to create.


cmwheeler said...

Isn't Maya Angelou amazing? I often refer to her life & work for inspiration.

Lucy Lopez said...

Reading this post reminds me of long-ago yearnings...and threatens to untie the urge I have to write about things I long for, the magical experiences I seem to remember having, suspended, as it were, in timelessness...oh what feelings...

LizzyT said...

I love reading your posts and I love the idea of a snuggery, what a great word. I can almost smell that heady scent of flowering ginger.

Liz said...

Just by reading about you and your dreams was very inspiring.
Best wishes

norfok cottages said...

So I guess,your corner is your best friend.

Do you need help planning your finances said...

This happens to me also. I wonder why people live in huge houses?

Ray Gratzner said...

I think it is an art to live in a snuggery. Btw, thank you for explaining the word snuggery. English is not my mother language and such explanations help to get the point.

gLoR!e said...

it inspires me to live's nice thoughts:)

Jackie said...

A wonderful post as always.

I have added Dan Price's sites to my favorites to look at when I have more time as just a glance at them made me want to read more.

Snuggery is such a wonderful word. Just what I have created after downsizing from a house to a studio flat, everything I need around me and being cozy and snug. The fact it is rather cluttered makes it even better.

Love the poem. All women should be comfy in their skin, we are remarkable whether we are plump or skinny, firm or flabby.

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