books & nooks :: special guest

I am super excited today for 2 reasons... 1) I am currently in Canada, preparing to go on the trip of a lifetime... an ALASKAN CRUISE... and 2) because today kicks off the first day of my special guest blogger series!

I can think of no one better to jump start the series than my blog friend Teagan from Echoes of a Soul. She is an incredibly gifted writer, a newlywed, a lover of classic literature, and not to mention absolutely beautiful. She and I discovered our common ground over blogland when I realized she spent some time living in Kazahkstan... a place near and dear to my heart. Today's topic is "Books & Nooks" and I secretly hoped Teagan would be up for guest posting this one. She is an extremely gifted writer that truly understands the importance of having your own creative space. Enjoy!! {Be sure to stop by Echoes of a Soul and say hello... I promise you won't want to leave}

Alright, I'm just going to jump in here.
(I'm not always good at beginnings.)

All of us have something we like to do. We read, take photographs, make art, write poetry, cook, sew, care for our families, scrapbook, garden - the list could go on.

No matter what you enjoy, I think it is so important to have some sort of nook or space for your creativity to dwell in. After five years of living in college dormitories, cramped apartments and one-room spaces, I realize that this can be difficult. For a variety of reasons. Some of us have clutter that plague our best-intentioned spaces; others deal with the constant presence of children leaving very few spaces as kid-free zones in our homes; a lack of funds or space can hinder our ability to make a magical get-away in the places we live; whatever our reasons, the fact remains - without some form of a nook, it's easy to feel lost. Even in the places we live.

Now I'm not saying that we all need a specific room dedicated to ourselves and our creativity - that's simply not a possibility for everyone. I know it's not for me. But there is something so freeing, so inspirational and precious in a safe place where our thoughts can be let loose to bounce around. Maybe this means placing a comfy chair in your yard or garden or on your porch with a sturdy little end table next to it for a glass and a book. Maybe it's a corner of your living-room with a nice little lamp and your sewing supplies organized in some chic cupboard. When I lived in dorms, I would always find some space to post and rotate through photos and quotes that spoke to me and made me think - things that got my imagination flowing and helped me appreciate what was around me. Maybe the creation of your space needs to be more mental-space oriented - finding a way to have half an hour to yourself, uninterrupted by emails and phone calls and questions, once or twice a week. You probably know how your creativity works best. Embrace that - give it a place to thrive.

Virginia Woolf, a brilliant woman who wrote at a time when it was not necessarily profitable or glamorous (or even very possible) to be a creative female novelist, greatly believed in the benefits of people having creative space. She especially encouraged women to seek out ways to get for themselves space (both physically and mentally) in which to dwell creatively. In a lecture she gave to some female graduates, she encouraged them, "I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream." She had to encourage these women to find the money to make their space possible - if she were talking to people today, I believe she would emphasize the fact that we need to find the time. In our busy lives, we must seek out a space in which to loiter, for the sake of letting our minds roam.

In the end, I think this is a piece of why we blog. It's us finding space. Room to breathe. Each blog you read is a person's nook. They've fashioned it in a way that inspires them, and often others find it inspiring, too. So keep on blogging, you wonderful people. Keep exploring others' nooks, and most of all, keep spending time making your own nook (in blog-land and in your home) a place you delight in.

Because environment can make all the difference.

Bad Reading Environment

Good Reading Environment
See what I mean?

Thank you so much to Julia for asking me to help her out while she's on vacation!
Julia - you've got to enjoy that trip to the fullest.
And you know we're so excited to hear your stories once you do!