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A Room of My Own competition – 1st Prize: Dominique Vincent

Filed under: Non-fiction

A Room of My Own

The future is a prospect that is terrifying to consider. The vast reach of this unknown spans across the decades; fast and unpredictable as it progresses. It can make a life seem so small and insignificant yet that captures my attention. If I’m going to be here for a short period of time, I want to transform the lives of the people around me through my passion for literature. The pure unbridled potential of the universe must be utilised. That is why in my pursuit of writing in the future, I must be bold and unapologetic. Life is far too short and precious to have regrets.

Throughout the various challenges life has posed, writing has proved itself continuously to be an anchor which never fails to keep me grounded. There is something so beautiful and intimate about it. It provides a glimpse into the intricate mind of the author. However, the stories are but a fraction of the lake of thoughts of intangible ideas fighting to be created under their watchful hand. The only restrictions placed on how much of that lake that makes it into the final product is fear.

To write, it is integral that you have some sort of motivation. Sometimes it is monumental, the words refuse to stop flowing and your hands struggle to keep up with your thoughts. Other times it’s the quiet voice that nudges you slightly in a certain direction. Both moments provide essential contributions to the writing process.

Identity plays a major role not only in the formation of key themes within novels but in how we develop during that process. My identity as a black woman doesn’t define my genre. The industry loves to contain people to boxes, it makes them easier to manipulate like a puppeteer. No matter how hard the world tries to determine that I can only write about the struggles of my ancestors it is not all that I want to do. The importance of their stories and the power are not to be undermined as they paved the way for black people to win awards like the Booker Prize. Yet it is not all that I am and nor all that I aspire to be. Do I know who I am? No, but the beauty of literature is in the exploration.

In conclusion, a room of my own is somewhere I craft the stories that my heart yearns to tell. The only limitations I have are the walls of my desires and determination. They are not defined by anything which society claims sets us apart. The more I want it, the larger the room is. The more fear dictates, the smaller the room becomes. It closes in and robs me of the clarity in the air and clouds my vision with doubt. You can’t let anyone, especially not yourself, be constricted. Doing that strips storytelling of the one thing it is meant to be; an expression of freedom and creativity.

Dominique Vincent
18 years old
St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School, London