"... we must accept the fact that all those good novels, Villette, Emma, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch, were written by women without more experience of life than could enter the house of a respectable clergyman; written too in the common sitting-room of that respectable house and by women so poor that they could not afford to buy more than a few quires of paper at a time upon which to write Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre." - Virginia Woolf
As I begin to feel the full ramification of my decision to be an artist and making professional decisions based on what works best with my studio practice this quote from Virginia Woolf written in A Room of One's Own really resonates with me. Why is this I wonder?
In writing my thesis, I am starting to venture into the history of feminism. By opening this particular box of Pandora's I am becoming enlightened as to the extend of inequality experienced by women throughout time.
So here I am, a woman in the 21st century able to make a respectable wage (equal to my male counter parts - no but respectable... yes) and instead I choose to embrace my love of art. Instead of just wanting to be an artist, a creative, I've decided to be. But in order to be, I'm discovering that I have to leave behind the conventional lifestyle, leave the security of knowing where and when my income comes in, that I will in fact even have an income... leave that security. Where as these women that Woolf is referencing had no choice, because they were women, they had no income, they had no experience and they had no room of their own. For me, in order to have a room of my own which equates to not just space but time, I am making the choice to embrace my art and the life challenges that come with it. It is a scary choice, scary because I am realizing that if something were to ever happen to my husband I would, at the blink of an eye, become like these women that Woolf describes. But yet, I wouldn't would I because whereas they had no experience, I do. I use to live in the world of security, I have the knowledge and ability to maintain a professional job that would give me financial security. The difference is that I choose a less secure path.
I wonder, if I were to enter their sitting room and share a cup of coffee (or tea as that might have been more within their time period), I wonder what they would think of my choice? Would they applaud it as despite the challenges I've chosen to pursue my passion, much like what they were doing within their restrictive box of a life, or would they think I was nuts?
A room of one's own, both in space and time... that is a beautiful concept and more valuable than gold or diamonds, and worth the cost of knowing security. I wonder what this would look like as a work of art...