Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop: share what ignites your creativity



My friend Cate Russell-Cole has started the Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop, and I had to participate. I created the room in our house where I write six years after the suicide death of my son Paul. It was the last room he lived in.

I’ve written  about this room and how meaningful and healing it is for me before  A version of the  following poem appears in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide.

Making Room for Me

After six years I stacked Paul’s books and records,
once in alphabetical order on his closet shelves,
in boxes out in the garage,
and finally cleared away all the dust.

I recreated his room and closet,
with a new hardwood floor,
a bay picture window, deep taupe walls,
a white ceiling and crown molding,
and file drawers and book shelves
for storing my books and poems.

I refurnished his room
in shades of black and orange.
The sofa is like a futon
because he once slept on a futon here.
I bought an orange lava lamp for my desk
like the one Paul wanted me to buy for him
back in December 1995.
A lava lamp gyrates in time to music.
Then, I didn’t know Paul didn’t just want a lava lamp.
He needed one.
He needed it to keep time with his music
whether it was the music he played on his keyboard
or in his head.
So, I needed one, too.

His room became the place
where I could finish telling his story and mine,
about his bipolar illness,
about how hard he fought against taking his meds
because he couldn’t live with them
and  couldn’t live without them,
about his suicide,
and how I survive through it all.

IMG_0260While I write
I sit at a draftsman table
and sometimes gaze out to the garden
at the three palm trees,
the small cement pond
where birds take a dip,
the ginger and azalea plants,
and my smiling Buddha.
I can hear the gurgle of the fountain
when it’s warm enough to leave the window open.

photoThe calm in his room.
helps my writing.
Maybe my reminders of Paul also help,
his candlesticks on the top shelf
of the bookcase,
his photo, a charcoal and white chalk drawing
of me when I was pregnant with him,
and a photo of a sunset taken on September 22, 1999,
his last night alive,
showing an orange sun
floating into the sea.
I also have an assemblage
of felt-covered wooden mallets
once used to strike the strings of a piano
the instrument that kicked off his music career
when he was 10 years old.

I put my style and tastes into my space,
but, I didn’t erase him.
He is in there with me.
Paul is still my muse.


As Cate says:

This is a blog hop. Any of you can grab the logo and kick off from your own blog as well and answer the questions:

~ where do you work?

~ what can’t you write without?

Inspire each other! Use photo, video, any medium desired, which will show off your muse’s playground. The purpose is to discover something in another blogger’s space that inspires you and to share the love around, so blogs are being seen by a new audience. Oh and please mention that the blog hop started here. (Thank you.) Happy hopping!



  1. Madeline, thank you. This is so special and beautiful, it bought tears to my eyes.

  2. That was a moving tribute to your son while also explaining your work space. I enjoyed reading it. I write in a lot of different places. I tend to like to drink coffee or tea while I write.

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