The Creative Space

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An essay on the "creative space" as being a home trend for 2017.

Submitted: May 27, 2017

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Submitted: May 27, 2017



The Creative Space

The world is a mess.  Hillary Clinton calls it "a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason".  Perhaps that's true.  I'm taking her words out of context, but it's no wonder we're losing our minds.  It's hard to turn on the news for five minutes without having your senses bombarded with images of death and destruction.  Scarcely a day goes by when something isn't being torn apart, burned down, or blown up.  President Trump is calling on everyone to send terrorism and its wicked ideology into oblivion, and it's hard to know where to begin when this could included everything from extremism to showing up at work to discover that all the computers have been hacked.  Cyberterrorism can even strike us at home.  Just buy a Smart TV, leave it off in the corner of the room and have an argument with your spouse.  Apparently it's listening to you and broadcasting your fight to some clever programmer on the other side of the world, along with whatever your cell phone, your computer, the speakers attached to your computer, and probably your microwave can pick up.  There is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason alright, especially the reason part, because none of this seems reasonable to me.  

Looking in the mirror these days, I don't see someone who is political.  Rather the person starting back at me has been influenced by politics against their will.  Thanks to 24-hour television news I know more about world affairs than someone in my position should ever need to know.  I sell houses for a living and although I should limit my television viewing to episodes of House Hunters etc., invariably my thumb directs me back to to the news each and every time.  Back in 2015 The Telegraph claimed that we've all become addicted to the drug of news.  I have a condition, apparently, by virtue of the fact that I'm up on current events.  

This constant clobbering on our faculties is tough on our minds and souls.  It's no wonder that people, and countries, are revisiting their priorities and looking inwards to focus on their own needs.  Perhaps this outward nationalism is nothing more than inner preservation - an attempt to shield ourselves from the catastrophic events occurring in the world today.  I live in multicultural Canada and am under the umbrella of Prime Minister Trudeau's sunny and welcoming ways, so it's hard for me to believe that people are turning their backs on globalization.  Globalization is the reality of my everyday life and my hand is extended regardless of the ethnic background of the person I'm greeting.  Even so, I have the overwhelming desire to crawl into my own space at night, which isn't a bad thing.  I need that time to regenerate in my cocoon so I can face the next day as a fully functioning human being.  

Am I going somewhere with this?  Yes.  Picture it.  A triangle divided into three layers.  The bottom layer is the largest and represents nationalism as I see it - the advocacy of political independence for a particular country.  That's Google's description, not mine, and I see nothing wrong with it.  Nationalism doesn't discriminate based on ethnicity.  Frankly I'm as Canadian as the East Indian family living beside me.  Nationalism is just another word for self-governance.  Based on what I watch on the news, we could use more of it, especially on a personal level.

The middle layer draws upon this nationalist sentiment and is manifested in our communities.  Community involvement suggests pride of place and it's our attempt to improve our neighbourhood simply by being good people.  It doesn't, nor should it, be rooted in any religious or political attitude.  Living in Canada, I can tell you that if my car was stuck in a snowy ditch, I wouldn't care if it was a Liberal or Conservative, Catholic or Muslim who pulled me out, so long as they have a winch.  I don't give a hoot what my neighbours believe if they maintain their properties and don't do anything to their houses that affects the value of mine.  Pray to aliens in the dead of night for all I care, but God help you if you paint your garage door pink.

It's the peak of the pyramid that interests me, because it's the most personal level and relates to my job.  It's the house in which I live - my safety net, my nest, my place to rest and reboot.  It's here that I'm queen of my kingdom, supreme leader of the ants in my garden and the dirty dishes in my sink.  And as head of state I'm free to rule my dominion as I see fit so long as I don't affect any neighbouring countries with my loud music or my neglect to spray for Canada thistle.  Since I like to write, it's also my cave and my place to reflect on things.  In short, it's my creative space and it deserves to be revered as such, if only by me.

Quilters have their sewing rooms, gardeners have their sheds, cooks have their pantries.  These are creative spaces in their own right and reflect a homeowner's artistic sensibilities, no matter how practiced or unskilled.  There's a trend towards creating more of these spaces in homes in 2017, so that we have those private spots to recover from the stress of our lives and leave the bad news of the world behind.  Get on Houzz and Pinterest, for example, and look at some of the new designs for kitchen pantries.  The only thing missing is Nigella Lawson and her wooden spoon, ready to help you bake a cake.  And thanks to J.K. Rowling, the room under the stairs is now a cosy place for a child to play and escape the annoying sound of mom's vacuum cleaner.  I like the concept of the digital-free space the most, a room devoid of technology so that you're forced to do something other than surf the web or stare at a television screen.  The idea of being alone with my thoughts and whatever else that gives me solace is heaven to me.  Having the comfort of knowing that neither a Smart TV or my computer are listening to me breathe or trying to predict my next online purchase is absolute bliss.  Privacy is the new hot commodity for 2017.  We're all looking for it, so why not make it part of new home construction?  

Technology-free or not, we have the right to design our creative space as we see fit, to give it all the bells and whistles or to leave the walls as bare as we like.  The creative space is meant to be our personal space.  It's under our control in a world where everything is out of control.  Call it small-scale nationalism, but in a good way.  I can be as miserable as I want in my creative space so long as the person leaving it respects the autonomy and rights of my family, friends, neighbourhood, and the global community around me.  Perhaps I need to be alone for a few minutes each day to do just that.  Maybe all anyone needs is a space of their own to enjoy some down time for the world to be a better place. 

"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home," said Matsuo Basho, the Japanese poet.  If that's the case then our homes, our personal domains, should be sanctuaries for us.  At the very least one of the rooms should be a designated sanctuary, or a creative space.  Somewhere that we can go to recharge our inner light and lift our tired spirits.  That peak on our own private mountain where we can make sense of things, figure out our next steps, and get ready to face the day ahead - maybe even the news once we regain the nerve to turn on our television sets.  

© Copyright 2019 Jackie Buell. All rights reserved.

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