Saturday, 8 April 2017
When I was little, I dreamed of writing in a magical attic.
I dreamed of just having an attic!
Back then, in Railway Cottages, painted Railway Green with Railway-regulation paint, we didn't have one. No attic to go writing and dreaming in. Only a dusty cockloft where my dad would store those once-a-year, just-in-case household items, reachable only by adults, only by ladder. Only an outside loo and a coal-shed of similar compact dimensions in our little yard, where the zinc bath hung from the brickwork, the bath we filled with kettle-and-panfuls of boiling water the night before school.
But I wrote all the time. On the dining table. On the three-legged tipsy stool my granddad made. On the dressing table surrounded by scary mirrors that made you look every which way into the shadows in the corners in the fading lemon light. On my lap. On the couch in the front room with the big light on before tea. In my bedroom. In the garden, where steam trains whooshed by and sometimes sizzled to a stop at our branch line station, spiriting my imagination away to wondrous unknown horizons beyond our valley.
I was writing my world a word at a time but still I would dream of my writing attic. Was it out there, lonely, waiting for me?
I dreamed the Moon would peep in through the little window set into the roof, peeking encouragingly at my scribblings. The sparrows would twitter in their cosy nests under the eaves, urging me on to tell them stories.
I've lived in many houses, many manses, flats, digs and dives since those dreams first melted into maybe.
Then one day, illness sneaked up, smacked my hands off the wheel of working, dismantled my strength, drained my batteries, clogged my muscles and bones with rubbery uneven pain, fogged my clarity, burgled me of my old whirlwind of energy, pickled my possibilities.
I moved here, forcibly retired with half my life still not written.
A little rented house in a village where woods, streams, fields and wandery ways have crept close enough for me to visit them on my better days. A garden full of flowers that imagine themselves into colourful calendars of the passing seasons. Eaves laden with sparrows and a clear southern view to track the Moon sashaying her catwalk arc towards the west.
And guess what else was waiting here for me?
My writing space. My rooftop chamber of dreams.
I feel so blessed. I feel its joy, its sigh of relief surrounding me as I write.
I hope I was as worth its wait!