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A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Abigail Butler

Filed under: Non-fiction

My Favourite Four Walls

Often described as the metaphorical ‘Four Walls’ in Theatre, actors transform their art: into realism. Magic. What they personify as breaking the ‘Fourth Wall’- dividing the actors from the audience. Demonstrating a circus act with a glass wall. Only the joke has worn thin, and the auditorium, empty. It’s transparent beams holding together the room, similarly to the beams holding the foundations.

I hear the cascading of the waters approach the rustic oak door. The wind, limitless, blows. The scent of sea air illuminates itself underneath my nostrils: as though it were a lone ballerina taking her final curtain call. The tranquil setting of this serene area sparks infinite joy, inspiration, if you will. Ancient manuscripts from abandoned projects line the shelves, fringed with a perimeter of dust upon their very spines. A large bay window with a gentle oceanic view eases me into the empty room. Its simplistic setting ignites remaining embers that illustrate words, as though they can inscribe into the wallpaper as the ideas spill onto the parchment. I write about life. What it is, could be, its potential.

Its manipulation dissipates through the little grasp we struggle to hold. The sands of time are complex, enriched with experiences. Experience helps us grow. We are an evolutionary species. We are programmed to seek further improvement even after the last line has been punctuated and the last song has been accounted for. Too much is never enough. We are flowers, blossoming upon the new dawn. Coffee is also a necessary fuel to feed our bottomless pits of eccentricity and imagination. Doubt often eclipses writer’s minds; it fogs our vision for a while, but we re-route ourselves to where we desire to be. The room itself and the view overlooks the world, and for a moment, it captivates me. It truly eclipsed the doubt and the voice that made you feel small. A subtle hew of a needle scratches the vinyl, accompanying a mellow satisfaction to the dream that I can live in.

I have it all here, yet I feel incomplete. Peace. Writers seek peace. Our minds, a conundrum of thoughts, concepts, ideas. Too manic for life, for publication. We are all raised to learn with an open heart and an open mind. Sometimes, walls aren’t good enough. They aren’t able to sustain the pressures and the emotions that another human being can. Sometimes, just sometimes, we discover that our favourite four walls are no longer our bedroom, or a villa on an idyllic island built upon happiness, hopes and dreams. Sometimes, they are people that have been next to us the whole time. They have been listening, educating, advising the entire time, carrying the weight of our emotional baggage. Showing us what it means to be human again. A writer does not require a palace, nor a dungeon at the best of times. They require perseverance when they feel compelled to throw the towel in. Encouragement. Support. Sometimes, all we need, are two eyes and a heartbeat.

Abigail Butler
16 years old
Boston College