Monday, 6 August 2012

Sleeping Balcony

The house that I grew up in was built in 1918 and had a number of old timey features indicative of century old homes. We had a coal room where coal would have been shovelled into and stored, piano windows (windows at weird heights ostensibly to accommodate pianos and other taller furniture. We also had a sleeping balcony that was meant for sleeping in on hot summer nights in the days before air conditioning.

As the house belonged to my grandmother before us, when we moved in we inherited all of her furniture, plus the furniture of an aunt. On top of this, adding our furniture into the mix meant not a lot of room. Every spare room was used for storage, including the sleeping balcony. You literally could not walk into it, it was that full of stuff.

One year, I must have been 12, I decided that we needed to clear out the sleeping balcony. I can't remember how I did it, or where I put all the stuff that was in there, but I managed to rearrange and redistribute things to the rest of the house until the room was cleared out and there were just two beds (with plenty tucked underneath) and a little table that my mom called an "invalid table" because it tucked under the bed so one could eat while sitting up in bed.

I didn't so much want the room as a summer bedroom as I wanted to use it as my "writing retreat". I had pre-teen pretensions of becoming a world famous author and I would sit up there afternoons and write my weird little bits on these extra long pieces of foolscap that we had because my dad was a teacher and he hoarded stationery.

The idea of a screened in porch to write on still fills me with longing for those days:  propped up on my elbows reading L. M. Montgomery and Archie comics and dragon books by the boatload. And then scribbling out the usual childhood embarrassments that I was sure would get teachers' approval come fall.

A room of one's own, I suppose is what I crave - and I have one waiting for me on the second floor here, but it is, oddly enough, chock full of "stuff". I'll have to harness my inner 12 year old to get around to sorting out my Ovarian Den so I can write that damned best seller for once and for all.

There might be dragons.

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