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A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Alice Garcia Kalmus

Filed under: Non-fiction

A Place to Run Wild

A Room. A notebook. A pencil. The luxuries of the past. A buzz. A ping. A head-banging alarm. Take your pick.

Would you rather sit down, a pen in hand and ideas bustling in your head, or use a multitude of online typewriters, automatic editors, autocorrect, Google? The choice is yours. However, having a r room of your own is an underrated gift. The peace if your surroundings, the nothingness of your still bedroom, or perhaps the buzz of a traffic jam, the drill of nearby construction, the yell of noisy siblings. Whichever one sounds most like yours, you have nevertheless taken it for granted. Let me explain how.

Whether you share a room with three other people or are lucky enough to have one all to yourself, this room is not just a room.

In fact, many would argue that it is not, in fact a room at all. It is a jungle, a cave full of hibernating bears, Victorian England, The Battle of Hastings. It is the street markets of New Delhi, the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, the slums of São Paulo.

A place for your imagination to run wild. Where Virginia Woolf stated in 1029 that a woman needed £500 (£30,000 in today’s money) and a room of her own to write, I would have to disagree. To put it simply, the only thing a good writer should need is a pen, some paper, and an active imagination. Having said that, a somewhat quiet personal space and a broad knowledge of literature do tend to come in handy.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot be born a proficient writer. You do not need a private education, bank account boasting seven figures, or world class university name on your CV. You do not need a fancy car, Twitter account with 35 million followers, an IQ of 140, or connections with the Royal Family.

All you need is hope, and determination, to change the world for the better.

Alice Garcia Kalmus
15 years old
UCL Academy, London