Last Monday I uninstalled my Twitter and Instagram apps (Instagram is back on my phone) because of the state of the world at the moment. It was only causing me more panic and worry and anxiety so I decided to take the scary scrolling away from myself (kinda).
I managed to finish a book (I’ve been slow this year) and really enjoyed getting back into the habit of picking up my book, as well as keeping a pen or pencil nearby for underlying quotes.
An Angel At My Table by Janet Frame is part 2 of her autobiography; there are 3 parts overall and I hope to get my hands on the others as soon as I can.
Part 2 sees Janet struggle with her twenties, trying to discover a career for herself, understanding what it means to become an adult. Janet is in and out of mental hospitals, escapes her fate of intrusive brain surgery, and as she regularly states throughout the book; “Her writing saves her”.
Here are some of the quotes that I loved:
[Writing of her mother] Within her prison of toil, self-imposed (for we felt ourselves to be grown up and were willing to help, partly to erase our now uncomfortable memories of mother’s role as an everlasting servant)…
I, brought up in a film star world of instant judgement on the looks of people…
I had, like a spider, woven about me numerous threads which invisibly reached all those who ‘knew’ and bound them to a paralysis of fixed poses and expressions and feelings that made me unhappy and lonely but gave me also a recognition of the power of having spun the web and the powerlessness of those trapped within it.
I could no longer bear the nothingness.
[Writing of her mother] What had we done to her, each of us, day after day, year after year, that we had washed away her evidence of self, all her own furniture from her own room, and crowded it with ourselves and our lives; or perhaps it was not a room but a garden that we cleared to plant ourselves deeply there, and now that we were removed, all her own blossoms had sprung up…
I explained that I was weeping for mother’s life, not for her death.
I regretted that with our parents’ lives spent almost entirely in feeding, clothing, sheltering us, we had little time to know and be friends with them.
We both knew that in a conformist society there are a surprising number of ‘deciders’ upon the lives and fates of others.