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A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Anya Biletsky

Filed under: Non-fiction

If Only it Were the View

I am sat in my bedroom. I have been sat here for a while, actually. Sprawled out upon the desk in front of me are pieces of paper, pens, pencils, pencil shavings, erasers, eraser shavings and yet… these objects, which are so often associated with “great ideas”, are not leaping into the formation of some literary masterpiece, much to my extreme shock and disappointment.

The sunlight is gushing into the room through the open window, bathing the walls in honey-coloured light. Birdsong is audible somewhere outside, that delicate encouragement from the minions of Mother Nature herself. “Go on!”, I hear them chirrup, egging me to formulate some nugget of wisdom to then articulately transfer to the (blank) notebook in front of me.
But nothing happens.

I feel like SpongeBob in that episode where he has to write an essay on ‘What Not to Do At a Stoplight’. Soon I’ll be asking the postman whether he prefers rye or pumpernickel bread in an effort to prevent myself coming to terms with the harsh truth: I am struggling to write. One would think, ‘Surely she has all she needs? Pen, paper, the inspiring view from her window. And yet she cannot write?’ In complete honesty, when thinking about what I may need to become a writer, I keep coming to the conclusion that I do not know.

It seems different for everyone. Maybe someone needs to travel the world and absorb sight upon magnificent sight before finding a subject so captivating that they are able to then write pages and pages about it, whereas another may find it suffice to observe the most seemingly mundane events happening in their vicinity and transform them into eccentric wonders. Maybe someone is content with a pound-store notepad, while another (me) wants a fabric-bound, flower-adorned book to tuck their ideas into.

Regardless whichever notebook one ends up using, it must be filled with something substantial. If one does not know what to write, they will never write, no matter how comfortable they are, as I have so expertly demonstrated here, what with my “inspiring” window view that has ultimately helped me to do squat.

However, if one has an idea, and attached to it is passion and zeal and investment, one will find it positively painful to suppress. As Maya Angelou said; “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. The vision will arise within you, bubbling, frothing, begging to be written. That having been said, the idea will not write itself, unfortunately. As Maya Angelou also said; “Nothing will work unless you do”. One must be prepared to devote themselves to their idea like a new-born child. Dote upon it, nourish it, nurture it. Allow it to grow with the work put into it. There will be obstacles and it will never be easy- one may become impatient and frustrated at times, but at the end of the day one must love it. And then… poof! As if in a puff of smoke, a fully-grown wad of paper is there, on one’s desk, packed away and ready to be sent off to publishers, like a young adult going off to university, their journey only just beginning.

Therefore, apart from the volcanic idea and unquenchable fire driving one to write it, I cannot say exactly what one needs to be a writer. I suppose the rest is up to the individual.

I now have to admit, maybe those birds outside did help me, after all.

Anya Biletsky
16 years old
Nonsuch High School for Girls