A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Eva Brand-Whitehead

Filed under: Non-fiction


To be creative, to become a writer, to be able to work you need only yourself, a pen and some paper.

Nowadays people are as fixated by technology as a dog is to a deer. The dog will freeze, totally lost in its own world. Time will dissolve into the air. Enraptured. The trees hold their breath, and the river will sink into a quiet lulling song.

The deer moves. It runs away.

That time is gone, and where? No one knows. Maybe the deer picked it up and rubbed it off on trees faraway. Maybe the dog has frightened it into a ditch, where it’s now stuck. Maybe it’s just gone, as quick as the summer holidays or the hour in which you have to do your homework before the lesson.

All one needs is a pen and some paper and some self-restraint.

You need a pen or a pencil or ink or nail varnish, to carve those letters and words and sentences and essays into the world’s tough bark. Or to graffiti the underside of motorway bridges, or to construct your final draft onto thick cartilage paper; you need an over sharpened, split HB pencil to scratch out your first draft in the rain huddled under a huge oak tree.

You need a canvas to paint your story, a tree, and a pad of refill paper, your colourful bedroom wall where the paint peels cheerfully in the corners and the colour is starting to fade away. You need to drag your knife across the earth, feel the power. You need to leave scar, even no one lays eyes upon your master piece then you have made it as a writer, because you know it’s there.

Finally you need self-restraint. Not the self-restraint that allows you to leave your sister’s birthday cake alone. Not the self-restraint you wish you had to study for tomorrow’s test, not the self-control that means you have money in your wallet.

Writing is an art. You need the patience of a parent with 5 young children, of a dog waiting to eat a treat, of threading a needle in the dark.

Eva Brand-Whitehead
17 years old
Oxford Spires Academy