When my husband and I built our house fifteen years ago, we had a strict budget that dictated our square footage. At one point, my husband asked me to make a decision: did I want a formal dining room, or a self-enclosed office?

Well. That was a no-brainer. As someone who dislikes cooking and formal entertaining, and as a writer and teacher who has always worked from home with young (and later older) children around, I chose the office, and I’ve never regretted it.

In the morning, when I work on my creative writing, I close the doors and the drapes and work by lamplight. Then, in the afternoons when I teach, I open the doors and the drapes and work by natural light, tricking my brain to switch from “writing time” to “teaching time” in the same space.

I’m also very fussy about my work space. I don’t work well amid clutter or distractions, so having a space that’s off limits to my kids where I can close the doors and arrange it to suit my needs is a luxury I don’t take for granted.

I’m unapologetically possessive of my office. It’s my space where I work, write, teach, dream, and create. I stopped apologizing long ago, and just appreciate it.


Kali VanBaale is the author of the novels The Good Divide and The Space Between. She received an Eric Hoffer Book Award, American Book Award, and an Independent Publisher’s silver medal for fiction. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Numéro Cinq, Nowhere Magazine, and others. Kali holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a faculty member of the Lindenwood University MFA Creative Writing Program.

Author: racquel