The room of make believe

in a small room made of white besser brick walls with three rows of small white desks on either side of the floor, she looked out across the clear city night…what a magical place it is to be in this room of make believe..a small Polish teacher brimming with encouragement, sitting at the front of the room, her head just reaching the top of the desk shared a literary quote for every comment offerred..teacher reminded her ‘one can write what one desires in this class’

..she, the student, sat forward on the edge of the black vinyl chair eager to hear more insight and share her ideas..she sat amongst new writers and future authors. they each read short stories, analysed strategies and started new ideas, not yet aware of where they might lead..

…she drank in new book titles, authors and quotes..she wished every day could be like today…

…an artist, a perpetual student with no worry for money or status

…she would bound home to her faithful lady lover waiting to greet her at their front door

…she talks and talks and talks about her magical day amongst words, not stopping for a breath

…her lady lover is as happy as she is seeing her alive

…they retire to bed early, their tanned summer skin rubbing against each other on white cotton sheets

sharing stories and laughter about their day and childhood, she can’t wait to get back to the room of make believe..

© Elena van Laack 2012


Growing up

I remember lying on a fluro green plastic banana lounge chair in the family house backyard at Atkinson’s Dam when I was 13 years of age. Equipped with books, a pen and paper I would settle into the humid Queensland heat on a Saturday afternoon, feeling beads of sweat build on my arms and chest.

I would watch my Mum busy herself around the house doing everything from washing, lifting heavy furniture and planting trees – her favourite pastime – wondering if I should help her. But like a lazy teenager, I didn’t.

I loved that house and yard and to this day miss it. I was upset when my parents left it. Even though I was living in the city, I wanted to visit it when I was an adult. To me, it was my primary family home.

I wanted to be a writer. I’m not entirely sure where this desire came from. I loved reading and in primary school competed with classmates to read the most books. Embarrasingly, I sometimes just sped read them so I could keep up with the nerds.

My writing was a trying as my sun-tanning – patchy and inconsistent.  I ended up falling asleep and woke up red with sunburn and only a few lines of text with not a lot of direction or substance. My interest in suntanning was more about wanting to be like my bestie who had dark olive skin.

It was never going to happen – she was part Indian – my ancestry is Dutch. I did not get a glorious exotic tan – I got freckles – lots of them.

I loved growing up in the country! My brother, sister and me spent our free time, riding bmx’s and motorbikes around our property and others. We swam in dams, creeks and lakes.

We ate fresh peas from the pod on a farm, had slumber parties, slide down grass dam walls on cardboard – it was about as much fun as a kid can have.

I wonder if there is another place on earth where I will arrive and think – ‘This is it, this is the PERFECT place, I will stay and live here forever’

Does a perfect place exist? Am I being romantically naive? I am curious to keep travelling and exploring to see if I find a place which gives me an overwhelming sense of home.