Comforts

October 4, 2009

Lately at night I’ve been retreating to bed with Emily Dickinson (a lovely fat Faber collected poems, kindly given me by my brother, for my birthday–he even wrote cutely in the front of it!). Sitting there, by my lamp, reading aloud, is my antidote to these days–these last days of the thesis. During the day, it isn’t Dickinson, but Millay who is taken up for pleasure when the writing and editing gets too much.

Once more into my arid days like dew,
Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
A treacherous messenger, the thought of you
Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
Long since to be but just one other mound
Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
And once again, and wiser in no wise,
I chase your coloured phantom on the air,
And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
And stumble pitifully on to where,
Miserable and lost with stinging eyes,
Once more I clasp, –and there is nothing there.

I’ve taken up residence in my mum’s study, with the built-in-bookcases that make me feel studious, and the deep wooden desk with brass handles, and the ashes of my grandmother. To my right, the leaves of the magnolia; to my left, a cabinet of china cats. This used to be my bedroom. I wonder, looking at the key in the french doors that has not been turned since I slept beneath, whether that is why I come here now: lonely with writing.

The sky is darkening. The floorboards are popping, as they used to. The parents have returned from a weekend away, with a pink cupcake for me, no less. Hehe.

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4 Responses to “Comforts”

  1. Erin Says:

    Lucy-
    Hi, my name is Erin. I’m about halfway through your book. At risk of being overly forward, there’s so much I wish I could say to you. There are so many things in your book that upon reading I sort of thought, Jesus. I feel exactly the same way.
    Thankyou for writing about what happened to you. Best wishes for the future. You are so INCREDIBLY eloquent.
    -Erin

    • lucyshena Says:

      Not overly forward, at all. At the end-point of what has been a crappy-ish day (so much work, piling ever-up), your comment made me smile–so I thank you for that. 🙂 Anything you wish you could say, you can say, you know. I’d love to hear it. I hope you’re ok, and that this week has been good to you. –L

      • Erin Says:

        It’s no problem. I’m glad you didn’t mind. Oh, sorry about the work. I sort-of understand; I’m in year 12 and while a) everyone knows the system in Queensland is far gentler than the HSC, and b) it’s probably my own fault for procrastinating, there seems to be an endless supply of work for me also.

        Ok, but I’m afraid I’m going to come across..wrong. For want of a less clumsy phrase.
        Well, there’s this part and you talk about eating Apple and Cinnamon Crunchola and natural yoghurt. And thinking you should dilute it with other cereal. I was all excited on reading that because that was totally my thing a couple of months ago! Both diluted and undiluted. (‘dilute’ seems to insinuate liquid but you know what I mean). As well as soymilk, 85% chocolate, organic cereal (which bring to mind puffed kamut but I could be wrong) And breakfast as the favourite meal. Going into the centre to see the psychiatrist and wanting to sink through the floor because all these anorectics are looking and probably thinking I am fat.
        About listening to Sigur Ros in the city: I don’t have many of their songs, but I often listened to them last year at school and so again I was happy to read something that I was familiar with. People thought I was weird for listening to music in Icelandic, but I thought they were great. Finding their music sort of sparked my interest in Iceland and for a while I was preoccupied with thoughts of the place as if it was some kind of magical faraway land. (which it kind-of could be if you count being by turns dark and light for months on end as magical) And then the recession closed down their banks, apparently, and I was sad for a while and stopped thinking about it.

        I always think about the cars when I’m walking on the side of the road. It also threw me a bit when you mentioned that you didn’t wear your seatbelt on the off chance that there would be a crash. I had the very same thought and did that too. It makes me sad, that. And how much you hate/d yourself. Despite that I would not wish it on anyone, I guess it’s sort of comforting in a way because I’ve never met anyone who understands what it’s like to loathe yourself so much that language is inadequate. I hope it’s not like that now but I understand if it is.
        And finally, though I have probably forgotten other things I wanted to say: as you expressed, albeit much better than I can, there are so many disadvantages, so many blaring reasons NOT to starve oneself, but sometimes it’s tempting all the same. Even though it’s irrational and unhelpful and makes you more susceptible to running injuries.

        I’m sorry if that was a little offensive, or anorexia-focused. I think it may have been. It’s like when I read what you wrote I wanted to reach out of myself and say ‘me too’ so much more emphatically than I am able to do. Everyone is different of course so my experiences are obviously not the same as yours but there is much that I can relate to, and I like that in the book that swearing is reasonably frequent. 😀
        Hopefully your week improves, and that you can maybe smile a few more times. I’m sort of discouraged regarding university because everybody I have spoken to says how much work there is! Thanks so much for reading all this rambling. -Erin

  2. Erin Says:

    oh that did come out wrong – what i meant was, i’ve probably met people that i didn’t know felt that way about themselves, but i’ve never SPOKEN about it to someone. if that makes sense.


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