A Workspace of One’s Own

Years ago, when I lived in Singapore, I picked up one of Michael Pollen's lesser-known books, A Place of My Own, where he details his experience building a one-room writing shed in the back of his property in Connecticut.

This wasn't his norm, which he admits at the beginning of the book. He's a person "attached to words and books and chairs," like many of us are today in the modern world. Yet, his time in the garden led him to appreciate different types of work with a different set of tools.

As you can imagine, his musings culminate in the actualization of his vision (or else, I doubt the book would have been written). It looks pretty nice, right?

After reading this book, I started dreaming about a workspace of my own. It was a far cry from my life nearly a decade ago—living as an ex-pat, more focused on traveling than anything resembling a personal nest. But as the years went by, my mind kept floating back to the image of a workspace of my own. Sometimes it was more zen (especially after visiting Japan), other times artsier.

Looking around my apartment this summer, I realized I'd finally accomplished this vision. I'd written a book largely in the confines of my little corner of the world, taking creative breaks at the kitchen table I've reimagined as a mini-art studio and on my balcony with a small garden and hammock.

It's not everyone's cup of tea, of course. (My mother refers to my place as "bohemian.") But it's my cup of tea. By creating a world where I can work, I feel at home.

In the words of Pollen: “Work is how we situate ourselves in the world, and like the work of many people nowadays, mine put me in a relationship to the world that often seemed abstract, glancing, secondhand.”

What does your workspace look like it? How can it help you feel grounded in modern life that often feels abstract and pixelated?