Descriptive Writing: The Cluttered Room


Prompt: Describe the room you are in, as though you have just entered it for the first time. What does it tell a stranger about its occupants?


The room was located on the second floor. You reached it, obviously by going up the stairs, which were winding, and without rails to hold on. The missing rails was surely the cause of the multitude of places along the wall where someone had tried to steady themselves. Upon entering the room the first thing you noticed were the books. There were books neatly arranged in two white shelves, both quite tall, as if trying to fill the shelves from the bottom of the floor to the top of the roof.

This had been unsuccessful, and it explained the books lying on the floor, on the table, beneath the computer. The sprawling disarray seemed due to just one fact, the books had outgrown the capacity of the room to contain them all. They were growing tall, strong and healthy. Surely if you looked underneath the pile of books on the floor, you would find baby books, extending from the bottom of the floor, to the wall itself.


The walls, however, was another matter. While there had been disarray on the floor, there was order on the walls. The wall immediately in front of me (and slightly to the left), contained the only window in the room. To the right of it, directly above the computer and halfway to the top of the ceiling, was a picture of a woman dressed as a saloon girl would have been dressed in the days of the old Wild West.

She was wearing a black hat with a wide white band. It was wrinkled and crinkled from long use, yet cocked over the left eye. It seemed to suggest that this lady was a fun-loving saloon girl. Yes, someone with whom you could forget your troubles, no doubt.

The smile showed the whitest of teeth. The two rows of sparkling, pearly white teeth were surrounded by ruby red lips which seemed to whisper softly, “Kiss Me. Forget about your troubles, kiss me if you want, don’t worry about tomorrow, here and now is your chance.”

Such sweet temptation was accentuated by bare shoulders and bare back, viewed from the side. In her right hand she held a Spanish fan, the kind you would expect a Flamenco dancer (a gypsy of course)to have held. Quite demurely the fan was held before her. It seemed to be hiding something, something promising to be of the unforgettable sort. It added an air of mystery, of the unknown. Indeed, although one had seen much, in fact, one had seen little, better said, next to nothing. Of such stuff is seduction made. Yes, it was the perfect enticement to lose oneself in her charms, an hour to live a fantasy of a lifetime…

Tearing my sight from this tempting vision, lingering a moment as the shiny silver earrings in her ears seemed to insist there was a price to be paid by anyone who lingered much longer in the company of this saloon girl. Only with a mighty effort could I tear my vision away from this enchantress, and take in the three walls remaining.

Each wall holds a framed memory of days gone by. To the right, a man and a young boy, dressed as Civil War Soldiers. It matters not who is North and who is South, who is Rebel and who is Union. These two are as united as the United States, father and son, son and father…

The man holds a sword and is dressed in blue Cavalryman’s garb, complete with sword in hand, almost as if in surrender. Surrender, I know not what nor why. Fate, destiny or finality, this surely shall be kind to these two?

Surrender would be appropriate, for the young boy holds a Winchester Rifle at the ready, and with it the upper hand. Does not the rifle trump the sword? And surrender surrounds us, as the photographer holds the moment captive, infinitely, to be rediscovered and remembered, again, and again…


To the rear there is a framed certificate attesting to the academic prowess of its owner. It seems this person has been in many places of higher learning. They say to be everywhere is to be nowhere, and I am left to wonder and ponder. Yet one thing is clear, this is a person who loves to be around people and places where learning is to be found.

On the wall to the west there hangs the most striking frame of them all, one holding three awards, lined up vertically. Two of the awards bear the seal of the Great State of Alaska. Upon closer inspection, one finds it is a high honor, the Alaskan Humanitarian Medal, given out by the Governor himself, for saving the life of a native Alaskan.

The other awards attest to valor, to community service, and to professional competence. Any one of these awards would be sufficient grounds to feel proud of oneself. In triplicate, this trilogy attests to an honorable past, each a cherished memory, when one rises to meet challenges and expectations that exceeds one’s own capacity of the imagination.

This room is a cluttered room, one that suggests a person who is busy, moving from project to project, never allowing the time to put things in order. Order, it seems, is not what this person is defined by. On the contrary, it is the doing, the perpetual motion that takes no time to order things. A disordered and disorganized clutter it might seem to the untrained eye, yet one can not deny, here in this space is to be found one who is busy living life, and the cleaning up will have to be done after life has been lived…


TJ & Thomas




About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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