Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

The Cool White Room of Peace


I had me some Me Time today. Let me tell you that when you have three kids, no family on the same continent to hand them over to when you’ve had enough, a husband working his butt off and travelling a lot, there is nothing you relish more than an hour or two of no-one asking, wanting, touching or needing.

I went to a cool, white place. It was quiet. People spoke in hushed tones. There were some subtle touches of green. The rooms were nicely lit. Everything was clean, spotlessly so. I lay down on a really comfortable chair. Someone tended to me. I drifted off; thought about blogging. I thought about how lucky I am to have landed in amongst some people who are as interested in books and writing and the writing life as I am. I wondered about a book, my book. I wondered when and how it would happen. Since I have always known I would write, since before I could even write my name, I have always known I would write a book. That writing such a book – whatever it would turn out to be – would make me a writer.

As I lay there in the cool white room, with such a pleasant person looking after me, I thought: I am a writer. I write and people pay me. I am a writer. I write and people read it. I am a writer. I love the swoosh of words from my head to my hands to a screen. I love the feeling of a well-turned sentence. I even love a bad one. One day, maybe sooner, maybe later, the book will happen. But I am already a writer.

I admire enormously the people who are getting out and actually doing it: YogaMum, Nova, BikeProf, BlogLily, Helen, Courtney. I admire their tenacity, their motivation and their courage. I am fascinated by the creative process, and how they are living it, separately, differently, but through their blogs, communally. I love reading about the writing life.

I also thought, lying there in the calm, quiet room, that in order to write life, you need to live it. I love the way my life is presenting itself for living now: I love watching my children grow through their stages – how one is poised to read and I know it will bring her so much joy, how another is finding immense physical confidence (something I never had) which I imagine must be joyful, and how another is finding his words and the delight that brings both him and us. I love how being an outsider in a culture allows me to be an observer; how that allows me to engage as and when I choose, but also to step aside and watch. I am warmly wrapped in my family but only coolly so in Germany. I love how, as I approach 40, I am not scared anymore, but that I can look back on fear and put it to very good use in writing. I thought, peacefully in the white room, that life has presented me with a cast of very colourful characters and that when I get round to peopling a novel, it will be a mere case of cherry-picking the best of them. Mixing and matching too, patchworking a little, but they are all already there.

And then the lovely lady said that she was finished and Herr Wieland would see me now. Herr Wieland came in, and, speaking very quietly and peacefully, told me that some of my fillings would need replacing.

Yes, folks, I was at the dentist.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

20 thoughts on “The Cool White Room of Peace

  1. Oooooh, I LOVE dentists’ chairs, the way they lean back, tilt. I have a recliner but that just doesn’t go back far enough. Something about the head being lower than the rest of the body that sends me off into a calm, blissful place. I thought I was the only one!

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  3. You know my dentist is like that too.. I’ am already in that chair when he comes in smiling shakes my hand, asks me if I have any problems (tooth ones).. says we’ll just take a look then (making me feel like a small child who cannot be relied upon, but I get over it).. his blue eyelinered assistants cover me in paper towels and off we go.. this tooth that tooth, and then the inevitable bombshell, well we should fix that tooth.. but you have to give them credit for giving you that tranquil white run up. Why can’t it be like that at my Frauenarzt ?

  4. I haven’t been to the dentist since 1998 when Sweeney Todd the Dentist gave me a filling without anaesthesia. As I was reading your post I was thinking: “Ooh, I need a cool white room now!” Then I got to the dentist part and thought: “Ulp!”

    You have got me thinking. If I do go to the dentist, maybe I will get five minutes peace. I desperately need five minutes peace! I am so tired right now my head is about to drop off. But your post has inspired me: I am a writer. I write.

    Let’s do it!

  5. Any space with calm and quiet amid the chaos of life with children must be conducive to meditation and reflection…must get myself a dentist’s appointment soon!

  6. I only wish I could bring my next dentist’s appointment forward — and I used to hate going to the dentist. I don’t think it’s the chair that does it for me, not directly, but more knowing that, for however long the appointment takes, there is that spot on the ceiling I can focus on while my mind wanders. Once you are in that chair, there is nothing else you can do.

  7. Wow – all these comments about the dentist and I was more excited about your thoughts on being a writer. The journey of being a writer. Living life to have something about which to write.

    And you showed your writing finesse throughout the entire post, but most excellently at the end with the twist. Perfect.

    The confidence to create is a true gift. In some lives it comes so quickly. In others, like for myself, it takes a little longer. I appreciate your words on the journey of writing. They resonate with my own journey in music.

  8. If only my dentist could be envisioned that way. I detest the dentist and my son is generally put on guard duty to prevent me making a rush for the door…

  9. Here’s the thing: I loathe going to the dentist and I nearly cancelled this appointment because I have a cold. But it worked for me! Not only do I now have wonderfully clean teeth, but I had a great meditation on writing … and time out from my kids. What more can you ask? I’m practically looking forward to the new fillings in October.

  10. That is a truly inspired description of the lengths a woman will go to for some peace and quiet. (My own dentist talks the entire time and I burble in reply.)

    It IS inspiring, all this writing going on. I love hearing how everyone approaches their work.

  11. What an incredible image — this cool, white room, and the moments you had in it. And how you surprised me at the end!

    I love what you said about being a writer, and coming to realize you are one. Reading about other writers’ processes is so inspiring to me, too.

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  13. Anyone who can write so beautifully about going to the dentist is a brilliant writer, in my book. Because I sure can’t find the beauty in it 😉

    I’m honored to be included in your list.

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  15. Funkmeister has noted something that belatedly occurred to me too, i enjoyed that third paragraph most of all, that you were writing about writing. 🙂 Somehow I got distracted by the dentist thang.. maybe because you mangaged to get us all hopping up and down eager for the next appointment. Such is the power of a writer!

  16. Man, I’m going to have to learn to use my dentist as wisely as you do! After all, it costs a FORTUNE just to set foot in the door. (And writing is in my DNA, too, but it took me forever to realize that fact.)

  17. I loved the twist at the end. Since I am a massage therapist I assumed you must be in a spa or a salon. So fun to be wrong in this way!

    I too have always “known” I would write a book one day. I even have one nine tenths finished. For years I wondered why I never finished it and I have finally figured out it was because if it was finished I would then have to send it out into the world and then I would be JUDGED. What if it wasn’t any good???

    My blog is the intermediate stage where I have discovered that I am indeed a writer, because I WRITE. And I love the fact that when I am finished with my post, I tell the software “PUBLISH”. I find that very empowering, for some reason. And as the days and weeks go by, and I write posts, and people come to read them, I find that suddenly… I am actually writing “The Book.” And maybe one day it will be published and someone will find it in a bookstore and enjoy it.

    I don’t hate the dentist. I don’t love it. I don’t need it for space and peace, and I am very grateful for that fact.

  18. I’m with you there, Ms Magic Hands. My blog is my intermediate stage too, and I love it. Now that you’ve put words to the great feeling of hitting “publish”, I know why I like it so much!

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