Sometimes I feel like if I tell other people enough things for long enough, and never retreat into the accusing mirror of my solitude, I will be fine, just peachy. If I talk enough to drown out the static and the uncertainty and the disillusion – it’s 2 am, and I’m halfway through my EE draft due at midnight, and I think I will find Andrew tomorrow and beg him to either take my hard copy or let me type it up during my free block, because I am writing my EE draft by hand.

It is 2 am, and I just spent forty five minutes talking to someone out in the silent hallway of the girls’ floor, munching on chocolate chip cookies. It is so difficult to see people clearly sometimes, and I feel like I’ve been collecting fragments for a year now, with nothing to show for it but bruised, bleeding hands. Were people just less complicated, or was I simply less discerning, or is it how much of people you get to see here? Which is more reassuring: that the people here aren’t an accurate reflection of humanity, or that they are? This reminds me of the quote: the optimist thinks this is the best possible world; the pessimist fears that is true.

A small mercy is that I may have caught the fiction bug again. I hope I have – even though I don’t remember doing so – mentioned how subliminally and viscerally arresting and resonant Anna Karenina was for me, though I don’t have plans to reread it anytime soon. Today I went on a spontaneous library spree, and skimmed through two extremely helpful US university admissions books, leafed through a slim collection of Margaret Atwood’s poetry, and read six chapters of Steinbeck’s East of Eden, which stunned me by the fact that it made me cry at the end of the third chapter, I think, without even trying. This is notwithstanding Pinker’s The Language Instinct, which I still have to finish. If it takes me this much effort to read a book, or if I keep dropping it and needed to return to it, what does that mean about my interest in it? But I am.

Margaret Atwood

Some people sell their blood. You sell your heart.
It was either that or the soul.
The hard part is getting the damn thing out.
A kind of twisting motion, like shucking an oyster,
your spine a wrist,
and then, hup! it’s in your mouth.
You turn yourself partially inside out
like a sea anemone coughing a pebble.
There’s a broken plop, the racket
of fish guts into a pail,
and there it is, a huge glistening deep-red clot
of the still-alive past, whole on the plate.

It gets passed around. It’s slippery. It gets dropped,
but also tasted. Too coarse, says one. Too salty.
Too sour, says another, making a face.
Each one is an instant gourmet,
and you stand listening to all this
in the corner, like a newly hired waiter,
your diffident, skilful hand on the wound hidden
deep in your shirt and chest,
shyly, heartless.


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