Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

A room of one’s own

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction…I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast.”
Virginia Woolf, 1928.

I’m so glad Virginia Woolf wasn’t against trivia, it makes me feel a whole lot better about the forthcoming release of Love in the Outback. She was right to point out that you shouldn’t write books in the anticipation of earning any money too, and you do, absolutely, need a room to call your own.

My room is a brick built storage shed, two metres by three metres and divided in half. Garden tools, pots of paint, leftover tiles and discarded DIY projects are stored in one side, the other half is mine.

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The bare brick walls are painted white, the floor is clad in some of those leftover tiles and there’s a rat living in the rafters. I’d like to think it’s a mouse but the scampering feet sound far too heavy for that. Several delicate spiders object to my taking up residence and so far they’ve been regularly rebuilding their flimsy webs that, each morning, I just as assiduously brush away. A small metal window overlooks the patio at the back of the house; it screeches when you slide it open.

In the garden bed directly below the window I’ve planted a lemon tree, fast growing lettuce, ivy, tomatoes and (here’s optimism for you with only two months of summer left) several honeydew melons. A small hybrid tea rose sits in the middle of the bed, directly beneath the window. Three tiny buds will I hope, in a few weeks’ time, unfurl yellow blooms tinged with the faintest pink and waft their heady scent into my room.

The desk stretches the length of the room, a generous slab of worn timber left behind by the artist, Klin Sullivan, who once lived in this house. I thank her for the indelible stains of creativity etched into its painted surface. It’s a fine desk to work at.

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Behind me is a bookcase, above me a fluorescent tube of light and beside me on the floor lies Maggie, sleeping on a grubby patch of old carpet.

There’s an inexplicable hole in the wooden door, which someone long ago painted the khaki green of an army camouflage unit, and the window is covered with a length of fabric, held fast to the top with bulldog clips. It keeps the sun out when Sydney swelters, as it did yesterday on a steamy thirty-three degree day that saw photocopy paper wilt in the printer. Clyde says I’ll need air conditioning. He’s right of course, but for now there’s just enough space to tuck a fan against the far wall.

I love this room. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I miss the silence and space of Broken Hill, and I suspect I always will, but this room is the equivalent of finding a strawberry growing in the desert.

15 comments on “A room of one’s own

  1. Adele Hughes
    January 2, 2014

    Happy New Year to you & Clyde, may your new home bring you much pleasure.
    You will always find a strawberry growing in the desert Deb – it’s just the way you are!! All the best Adele

    Like

  2. helenthis51
    January 2, 2014

    Sounds perfect Deb. Can you not have the “other side” as well? My “cave” is a spare bedroom, set up just for me with all my favourite books and other b’s and p’s. I love spending time there. HT

    Like

  3. debhuntinbrokenhill
    January 2, 2014

    Isn’t it wonderful to have a cave? It reminds me of the chairs and cushions we used to push together as children then drape a sheet over and crawl in. Bliss!

    Like

  4. monsoonwendy
    January 6, 2014

    I agree with Adele Deb. You are the kind of person who will not only find strawberries in the desert but help others to find them too! Much love to you both, and Maggie, and I soooooo look forward to the creations emerging from this room! Wendy

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      January 7, 2014

      Hi Wendy, a generous comment, as always. I shall endeavour to remember your wise words on creativity and not put too much pressure on myself. (And I’ve been wearing your beautiful creation and it creates comments wherever I go!) x

      Like

  5. candidkay
    January 7, 2014

    Love this. We all should be so lucky . . .

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      January 7, 2014

      Hi Candid, I agree! I wish every writer could have access to such a space. Funny how you still have to glue yourself to a chair to get on with it though…

      Like

  6. debhuntinbrokenhill
    January 7, 2014

    I’m very fortunate to have access to a private writing space, now I just have to live up to expectations! Look forward to catching up with you soon x

    Like

  7. robertstollar
    January 10, 2014

    Looks like a great space. I love the photo of your laptop. Each side of the trackpad has offered its beauty to the act of creation. Just imagine the joy of it witnessing the flow.

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      January 10, 2014

      Thank you Robert, those words about the joy of witnessing the flow are just what I need to inspire me 🙂

      Like

  8. Floortime Mama
    December 1, 2014

    Loved your post
    Really that is all one needs

    Like

  9. wendylockyer
    December 2, 2014

    Creativity, like garden plants, flourishes in the most unexpected places 🙂 x

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      December 3, 2014

      What a lovely thought, especially as I came back to find plants popping up all over the place in the courtyard! x

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2014 by and tagged , , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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