My perfect writing space exists only in my imagination.
It is early evening, late Spring, and the sun drops over the treetops. I’m sitting on my verandah, with my laptop and a glass of red, overlooking our new found piece of paradise in the beautiful Perth hills. The girls are inside playing dress ups and Daniel is cooking the dinner, the smell of spices and char-grilled delights waft out of the open door. I hear the birds in the trees as they call each other in to roost. The words flow with ease, as I tap tap on the keyboard; I laugh out loud, amused by my character’s wit, so happy to be writing. After some time, I notice the silence and I look to the house where my family is watching me. They smile and beckon me inside to the warm glow of home.
In reality, it’s a slightly different story. When I manage to find time to write, it’s usually punctuated by the shrill, chirping sounds of ‘ABC For Kids’, as I hand my mothering duties over to the TV in an effort to keep my eldest amused. We call it ‘quiet-time’, when my youngest girl is sleeping, but in all honesty, it’s ‘I-love-you-dearly-but-for-goodness-sake-would-you-just-be-quiet-now-time.’ She gets it. She’s only three and she gets it. It doesn’t make me feel less guilty but it’s part of the routine now.
My writing space of necessity consists of a stinky couch covered in my toddler’s lunch crumbs and other dubious bits of debris. My sausage dog is begging to be let up so she can blast me with her rancid dog breath, and my ridgeback is licking his balls. The only birds I can see are the metal ones on my bird feeder, which swings in my brick alfresco and has never attracted life. The window of my lounge room looks out onto our next door neighbour’s satellite dish and the sea of rooftops beyond.
I know I should be grateful. And I am for many things. My girls are my world. They fill me daily with laughter and pride. I get that fluttering feeling in my heart when I watch them play together, and I relish the cuddles and kisses they so freely give me. I love my dogs (mostly), and I have a warm house, a big garden, a perfect partner (for me), and most things I could ever wish for. Everything that is except for space. A space for us away from this hellhole of suburbia.
I just want to see a tree once in a while. I want my kids to grow up with nature. I want them to know there is more to life than roads and houses and shops and car parks. Is that too much to ask?
Yesterday, my eldest watched Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for the very first time. She didn’t get through it (and that’s another story) but one of the early scenes is of Belle running through fields of dandelions. My daughter turns to me and says, ‘Where is that, mummy? Can we go there?’ I replied, ‘That’s the countryside, honey, and yes, we’ll go there soon, I promise.’ I hope we can keep our promise. Because that’s what I want for us, and now Daniel wants it too. We want to move. This house has done us well, but it’s time to go.
And yes, mum, I know the mess will follow me, and the stinky dog breath, but that’s ok because we’ll all have our own space in our new house, our perfect space, in which to be ourselves while at the same time being together. And maybe, just maybe, my vision will come true.