Sunday, 15 April 2012


My toenails are blue. The paint job is decidedly wonky but I'm getting better. I tried my fingernails too and I look like a 4 year old who has stolen her Mum's makeup. I doubt they'll still be painted tomorrow as my tolerance record for paint on my nails is about 14 hours. But for the moment they sparkle like the twilight sky and the acrid smell is pleasing. And if you don't look too closely you can't see the uneven cuticles. Besides, it stops me biting them. Mostly.

I have been studying so hard that it feels like my brain is battered and bruised. But the panic still rises inside of me and bubbles up in a fountain of acid in my throat so I keep pushing on and forcing more knowledge about the popliteal fossa into a reluctant and terrified brain.

I am sleepy tonight, the first night in a week. No caffeine today. It was raining hard and friends visited so I drank cider on the couch and laughed instead, but the nagging fear crept along my shoulder and whispered in my ear about the time I was wasting. Was I not afraid of failure?

Last weekend for Easter I studied hard when we weren't visiting or listening for the Easter Bunny. But it wasn't enough and I spent last week feeling guilty and anxious. We went to the rainforest and climbed rocks for hours until my limbs felt soft and heavy and ached to move. We swam in rock pools and under waterfalls and I climbed halfway up a waterfall to take pictures of rainbows in the spray. We left the path and down to where the water is hidden and took off all our clothes to swim in the stream. It was so beautiful that for a few hours I forgot to be anxious and my eyes glowed gold. I climbed a fallen tree that was over a gorge and I lay there in a shaft of sunlight through the green sky with my cheek against the softly curling moss. I dangled my arms down and watched the rushing water 3m below me and thought about all the patients I see with broken bones and bodies who fall 3m. Then closed my eyes and smiled. Bingley just shook his head.

I was so sore the next day. Not in my legs, which I expected because of all the steps. And the climb. And the bounding over rocks. But it was my arms that hurt. I had used them to cling to the rocks, especially the slippery ones so that I wouldn't fall. Up there, half way up a waterfall. It was worth it.

I finished reading my first Hemingway book two nights ago, giving into insomnia. The Old Man and the Sea. I had never read Hemingway before and did not know what to expect. I am still not sure. I feel a little awe and a little despair because he makes me feel as if I waste words. His words are so sparse, so spare. And yet they paint pictures that my airy adjective heavy narratives always seem to fall short of. I never thought of writing having colours and texture before, but I saw it after reading that little palm sized book. I feel like my writing is weak and pastel and his is bold and bright. I think pastels are often pretty but I live for colour. I want to write in colour.

I want to go away for a while and study and not have responsibility or things to do. I don't want to pack school bags tomorrow morning. Or brush hair that has been matted by the soap bubbles that they foamed in the bath tonight. I want to sleep and drink caffeine and go slightly crazy with no one to be sane for. I want to wake when I wake and the breeze is brushing the curtain across my cheek and sleep when I collapse. I don't want the accusatory faces when I just want to sit. When all rational thought has fled and instead there are only the cacophonous voices of tangential strings. Medial head of gastroc and tendon of soleus. Semi membraneous. Semitendinosus. Synovium. Remnant of sciatic artery and division below popliteus.

I don't want to get up again while writing this, and pat and rock and sing him to sleep for him to get up yet again and smile cheekily over the back of the couch. It's not funny tonight and his beautiful eyes make me frustrated.

I want to go away for a while and be crazy somewhere. Hear the waves crash and cut my feet when I jump through rock pools. Feel my hair swell with salt. Watch the moon rise. Drive for hours through the bush for a sprig of wattle and stand on top of the pulpit overlooking the schism. Red cliffs on one side and blue mists on the other. Sunlight on my face.

I'm not sure how I will live another week of this.


Pundelina said...

Your writing is like a rainbow, Jenn, shimmering and glistening with all colours shining.

My toenails were glittery blue last week and have been since summer, I love blue nails!

And lastly, I'm drowning in the study sea with you. Never enough time and I don't want to miss out on all life for study. So I spend happyguilty times like you. We'll get there :)

Melissa Mitchell said...

I want you to hear this as I intend it. Not as shallow words. Not as someone trying to flatter you.

I love Hemmingway. I do. But his words never leave me feeling the way yours do. Ever. I love your words.

Hemmingway's words are strong as they are sparing, and they are bold and they do get under your skin.

But his prose never, ever made it into my heart. Never made me yearn to write like him. You do, almost every time you put pen to 'paper'. I'll bet the words you don't let us see are even more astonishing.

Jenn said...

Thank you both :) I hate re-reading posts and seeing errors. I wonder if Hemingway got as cranky with himself?

Melissa Mitchell said...

Well, you know how it ended..... so perhaps?

Jenn said...

He had haemachromatosis, Liss. I wonder if he had had a decent doctor and if it would have made a difference. Probably not being as he was pickling himself with booze as well.


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