Listening to Myself

Photo by Geoffrey Clark   My childhood bedroom had a little adjoining side-room which became my study. The view from one window was the driveway; the other looked out at Mom's clothesline. Here's how it worked: I could walk into my study and close the door. Yes, close the door. Inside, there was a clunky wooden bureau with my teeny bopper record player on top. At the window facing the driveway, my desk. On either side of me, bookshelves built by Dad ... kind of like surround sound but in books.

My first job there in Lincoln, Massachusetts was as a pre-teen volunteer in the children's library. Heddi Kent taught us how to shelve books, alphabetically by the author's last name. Inside my study, I replicated Heddi's method: titles alphabetized by the author's last name. It never occurred to me that this was atypical behavior for a 10-year old. Sometimes, the desk held the typewriter I'd gotten one birthday so I could learn to type and "always have something to fall back on." Even then, I had all of the ingredients: privacy, plenty of books to read, the ability to print words, and a choice between silence or accompanying music. A room with order and simplicity. A room where I could really listen to myself. A room where I could write.

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Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •