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Michael Pollen and Building A Workspace of One’s Own

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Years ago, while living in Singapore, I picked up one of Michael Pollen's lesser-known books, A Place of My Own, where he describes his experience building a one-room writing shed on his property in Connecticut.

This wasn't his norm, which he admits at the beginning of the book.

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.”

Like many of us in the modern age, he is someone who is "connected to words and books and chairs." However, his time spent in the garden taught him to appreciate making things with his hands and tools.

As you can imagine, the book ends with a writing shed. It looks pretty nice, right?

After finishing this book, I began daydreaming about having a workplace of my own, despite the fact that I lived a transient life as an ex-pat turned digital nomad. As I traveled, I'd collect ideas—a photo of a bookstore I loved or a piece of art that inspired me. I'd dream of a zen garden in my backyard or the perfect art studio with every type of paint I could imagine.

Then, this summer, it hit me: I finally had that workplace of my own I'd been imagining.

I'd spent the first half of the year writing a book from my little corner of the world. 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. It's where I feel most at home.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How does your workspace reflect you?

  2. What can you add to your workspace to feel more grounded in an abstract, pixelated world?

  3. What's one workspace you could try outside of your house, like a cafe or library?


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