A Peak Inside my E11ephant Room

Ahhhhh Sunday, the day of the week where I try to rest if I can.  Today I take that rest in the form of writing my blog from the room I have named E11ephant Room.  It is the one and only area in my home right now that has not been deconstructed for our move west.  Along with selling my house, I also have a lot of polishing to do before my first novel Sisters of Avalon is launched  and I do not want to disturb its aura until publication happens.  I am superstitious in my routine when it comes to penning my work, so to speak.  But soon I will have to carefully pack everything up, decide what will come with me and what will get donated.  Thinking about such a task has put me in the mood for this weeks blog post.    I want to remember this room when I am old and very grey underneath my unnaturally colored, red hair.   Today I am going to practice the art of descriptive writing and tell you about the place where I sit and work my magic.

The pale green love seat where I tuck my back and cross my legs is the right amount of comfortable. My not so tall appendicular skeleton fits perfectly from one end to the other, but only when I am sitting up.  I would not be able to take a comfy nap on this thing which is why it is the perfect piece of furniture for writing a novel.  No chance of dozing off let me tell ya.

The pink and wine coloured knitted throw that covers its cushions was a wedding present from my lovely aunt D in Newfoundland.  Having it close by makes me think of all the wonderful things that have been handmade for me over the years.   It gives me comfort and I am grateful that I am so spoiled when it comes to my family back home.

To my right is a wooden high back bar stool that I found in a yard sale last summer.  It is a darker shade of green, more emerald in tone, and it doubles as my side table where I keep at least 11 or 12 books.  The authors include Chopra, Dyer, Ondaatje and even some of my own writings hand written into the many journals I have been given over the years.  One of my favorite books that I keep in that pile is 642 Things To Write About.  It is an exercise book of sorts, listing  just at the title suggests, 642 things to write about. They even include the blank lines for those that need them.  I am more of a blank space kind of girl.  I do not enjoy having the lines there to tell me how big or small I should write.   Yes I have boundary issues when it comes to my writing.   But this is my go to book when I am not feeling creative.   I take it out and start scribbling and wait for the power of the divine take over.  It always helps the juices flow.  Thank you Miss. Maggie Muggins for that one.  A thoughtful birthday present from a neighbour last year.  It always helps to inspire me.


To my left is a tall book shelf that also doubles as my husbands beer cupboard.  Yes that’s right, my husband brews what he drinks.  His delicious and wonderful ales are on tap at our bar, Boxwood Brewing.  But don’t be fooled, we are not rockin or rollin on the weekends.  Most nights it’s me in my pajama’s and Mike in his black cap.  I drink a scattered pint now and again but I know where it has come from and I know where it has been.  My favorite is for sure is Vanilla Blond.  It tastes like Cotton Candy married Mill Street Organic and gave birth to my favorite summer refreshment, after lemon water that is.  Once again I am off topic, that’s what a Vanilla Blond will do to me.  So yes, sometimes there is more beer brewed than my husband has kegs for which is why some gets bottled and live in my shelf cubby.  In our house it’s Ales on the Shelf instead of Elf on the Shelf, heehee.  I had to say it.  These bottles stay in the bottom cubby until they are ready to drink.  You would never know they were there though as I have placed a cute little white piece of fabric over that one section.  I like to hide the liquid gold that lys behind the curtain as it really does not go with anything else that is in my room.  Oh wait, there is also a carboy of beer brewing in the corner but I try to pretend it’s not really there.  The one thing that is a must in our new home is that I get a room that does not smell like fermentation.VB

As you travel up from the beer cubby in my book shelf, you will find other great book titles belonging to Shakespeare, Julia Cameron, more Wayne Dyer and the many copies of plays I once studied in university many moons ago.  Even if most of my acting days are behind me, I still enjoy reading through the odd play now and again just to remind myself of some of the great lines I once carried across the stage.  My plays all sit across the top row of my self while in front of them is the first and only trophy I ever won.   It was awarded to me and 3 of my closest friend back in 1989 at the Triton Winter Carnival Talent show.  Miss. A, Miss. B, Miss. D, along with myself as lead, performed (by performed I mean danced and lip synced)  to Debbie Gibson’s Staying Together while we wore very silly outfits and I have a picture to prove it. Sorry ladies.  Those days were all kinds of fun and I feel blessed to have shared them with you.

Doing Debbie

Yes back in the day we dressed liked that and actually won 1st place of the coveted title that we lost the year before because we performed to Madonna’s Lucky Star.   The talent committee deemed us unfit because dancing to Madonna was a sin.  I laugh as I remember all this but yes this is a true story.  Debbie Gibson gave us a much cleaner image the following year.  But what those lovely judges did not know was that inside my jean jacket I wore a white shirt that had a tiny black playboy bunny that rested itself just above my left breast.  It was my way of showing them that I was still corrupt underneath my acid wash.

Back to my shelf, just underneath my display of dramatic literature, rests a few of my father’s books.  Books were his own personal form of currency that he read and traded for more of his favorite works like King, Brown and Grisholm.  A few of those lay on that shelf along with one of his personal favorites titled A Soldier First by General Rick Hillier.  Dad liked that one simply because he enjoyed being asked if he was related to General Hillier as it always made for a great conversation starter.

There is also an old copy of Virgina Woolfs The Lighthouse that I love opening as it has that old book smell.  You know the one, and if you don’t I suggest going to an antique book store and try breathing it in.  There is just something about it that makes my stomach turn but at the same time I enjoy it.  For a few seconds anyway.  That shelf is very special to me as those few books make me feel like my dad is still in this room with me, whispering great lines into my ear.  A picture of him rests beneath those books on the next shelf below.

As I move from my book shelf to the wall directly in front of me I have two long shelves mounted to the wall.  The first shelf has a red and black ceramic elephant on it raising its trunk along side a framed picture of a yellow butterfly and on its other side is a picture of myself and Joel Plaskett.  Joel has his arm around me, and all I think about when I see it is how much I am grateful to be wearing high heels.  That boy is a tall glass of water.  A friend of mine said I should have offered him a sandwich as there is not much meat on his bones but his talent is of course immeasurable in size.  I love his poetic twists and turns through the songs that play whenever I write, and right now he sings, “Harbour Boys” as I finish typing this.  Joel is always in the background when I write, inspiring me when I feel stuck.

Along side Joel and I is an autographed Raj Binder bobble head that was also given to me by a little friend for my birthday last year.  Mr. Sam you made my whole birthday month buddy.  I swear Raj is always winking at me.

Joel and Raj

As I bring my eyes to the shelf adjacent to the one mentioned above, there live six elephants and a wooden giraffe hanging out next to framed family picture.  Three of the six elephants are gold in colour and were all given to me by my boys.  They love adding to my collection.



That shelf also has the first two elephants that were ever given to me.  Miss. W gave me a tiny wooden elephant that was hand carved by some fascinating person on her many travels all over the globe.  Her world adventures are many and she always managed to send me a post card or two along the way, all of which I have kept along with the tiny elephant that started it all.  I have had that little guy a while but never sought to build on my collection until the second elephant came along.

I had seen my Poppa Elephant in an Avon book that my sister-in-law was selling and mentioned how much I loved him. He stands about as tall as a soda can, with his trunk in the air.  He too is wooden with a mirrored overlay draped on his back with a glass tea light holder on the very top.  I had the honor of receiving him a few days after my father passed. Dad heard me say how much I loved this elephant and had my sister-in-law order it to surprise me.  The real surprise was that he had left this earth before he could give it to me.  But when Mom passed it along and told me that Dad had bought it for me, it became more than just an elephant.  It became the inspiration for my collection and with that elephant comes the strength of knowing that even after death my dad will and is still with me.


That wall is also filled with various pictures of my boys and I have a what some would call a dream board, I call it my visualization wall.  I have pictures of elephants, butterflies, as well as great pieces of art work,  mostly created by my boys.  There are also pictures of the many different people who inspire me. One of the first things that went up there was a poster that my cousin Shannon made for me.  It looks like a movie poster with a scenery of Newfoundland and Sisters of Avalon written across it.  He also put actors names on the top to make it look like an actual movie poster.  I asked him to do this for me back when Sisters of Avalon was still a film script and I needed an extra push to finish it.  I didn’t have an ending and needed something visual to help relight my fire.  It inspired me so much that it went from being a film to a trilogy about the Bride family of Bridgette’s Cove, Newfoundland.  Shannon may not be of this earth any longer but his inspiration lives on and I keep that poster up now for him and always will.  I did not put a picture up of my wall because I like to keep that bit of myself to myself but here is a picture of my cousin Shannon and I when we were wee little lasses.  That boy always made me smile, well, when he wasn’t making me mad that is but we loved each other no matter what and always will.


My E11ephant room has 11 elephants and I love each and every one of them as they all have their very own special story to tell.   They will come with me when we move and have a new place to call home.  This room that I sit in now will be someone else’s office, bedroom or whatever they want it to be really.  In any case, it has served me well for the time being and the inspiration that it houses will still be mine in the form of a published novel.  This room is what I have made it and even though it cannot come with me I will always appreciate the time I spent in it.  A new E11ephant Room will take shape on the west coast and with it will mark the beginning of another book and hopefully many others to come.  After all, it’s not the room itself that is important but the work that is done in it as my roots will grow wherever I decide to plant them.




See you next Tuesday

R.H. Downs

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