Recent Work By Vanessa Willoughby

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i.

This is not an instance of communication breakdown but an example of wounded pride. I am the type of vengeful, petty wraith who is at her most compelling when she’s scorned, a shiny new convert to the scorched earth policy. You think that the act of writing is an easy, thoughtless pastime, a hobby that does not require the fried mechanics of an exhausted, Möbius strip imagination and fraying patience. You think that the act of writing is an exercise in the ego’s masturbatory need for proof of life, the unquenchable hunger for outside validation. You think that the act of writing is a symptom of a space-bound dreamer, that the process of reading and comprehending literature in order to form a cultural dialogue is as fruitless as shouting in an empty, padded room.

You fail to realize that I am writing for my life.

There was a point in time when I thought that I could control the course of our relationship like some ego-inflated Hollywood director. Maybe it was the control I craved, more than the love. A chance to feel that I had power.

*

When I met you all those years ago, I was alight with the fires of a woman scorned, or rather, lingering in the final stage of metamorphosis, shedding the skin of that Bambi-eyed girl child who was eager to sell her heart to the cleverest con-artist. Once I had left the monotony of my hometown, I headed for the comfort of the city. I wandered through the newfound world of academia, a little wooden ship bobbing in the endless ocean, desperately waiting for a savior. I latched onto knowledge and avoided the popular past time of binge-drinking, though I would never turn down the sticky-sweet haze of pot. The inner chambers of my mind were limitless, but I struggled to tap into that reservoir; I thought that weed could serve as the key. By the time I moved off campus and into a cozy apartment near the central hive of Boston University, I still hadn’t gone on a date or had a boyfriend. This probably had to do with the fact that the unchecked depression that had been lingering in adolescence had come to fruition. I’d spent the rest of my time in Boston feeling miserable, at best feeling helpless, at worst feeling hopeless.