The elk is nosing his snout along the bars. The two layers of fencing are designed so that I cannot reach him, no matter how hard I stretch forward. I want to pat his velvety snout very badly, I think this will make me feel better.

Before I left Sydney, many people asked me what a writer in residence does. I have the answers now: I am woken up at 7am by drills on the other side of the wall, forcing me to flee my cardboard apartment. I find it difficult to write on my blog as my computer is not compatible with the university’s network, and as an iBook is an obscure machine, there is nothing that can be done about this. Even if there was, everybody in the university is on holidays. I get sick of hearing ‘I cannot help you’.

I am left to watch disasters on the streets: bicycles colliding, people dropping their sandwiches. To this I nod, because this is exactly the kind of bad luck that has been plauging me, too. Too afraid to venture out at night, with a telephone that only connects to University phone numbers, I eat chocolate bars and listen to people’s voices echoing in the stairwells.

I think all this as I stare at the elk. The elk regards me, thinking that I perhaps have food. If the elk ate disappointment he would be greatly satisfied.


8 Responses to “Elk”

  1. Amberrrr Says:

    Love this entry Vanessa. I just read it aloud to Richard and we chuckled in sympathy.

  2. cole porter Says:

    …the sadder thing is that this time next year you’ll probably look back on it all with fondness. the mind is evil like that! 😉

  3. Nicholas Says:

    perhaps they have done an analysis of squalid literary memoirs and determined that this is the optimum environment for the Blossoming of a Young Writer. stay positive (ugh), as c.p. says you’ll look back on it with nostalgic fondness one day.

  4. Keri Says:

    oh no! after berlin sounded so high art.

  5. Keri Says:

    and I guess you’ll be able to say in a superior tone in 10 years time that you went there before it was gentrified, like people talk about going to prague in the 1980s (as christen tells me property speculators are saying leipzig is the next berlin and buying up whole streets and beautiful castles with no running water on the cheap). i imagine you must feel like some of those UTS international studies students sent to parochial universities (in china christen said one guy who was an engineer went to an industrial town but had to come back after 6 weeks with pollution poisoning). hang in there. xx

  6. bree Says:

    oh 😦 reminds me of many times being in foreign places. Stuck without a phone, all alone, and wondering how i got there.
    How much longer are you there? and can i send you mail?

  7. fber Says:

    Sweet girl. Today I went and looked at easter egg displays in David Jones and thought of you as I gazed upon the rows of chocolate bunnies. Are there good easter displays in Leipzig? I imagine there would be. I picture expanses of brightly coloured foil.

    I can picture you nodding at the dropped sandwiches.

    BTW, I think maybe elks do eat disappointment.

  8. froschperspektive Says:

    Thanks friends. I can’t imagine looking back with fondness, but perhaps uttering dry laughs that are so dry they are almost coughs about this experience.
    I leave on Sunday. Great joy feeding 30 euro into the ticket machine yesterday and having it spit out my tickets.

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