Essays
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This Woman is Hysterical

published in Meanjin

I’ve been trying to decide which of my encounters with doctors, the ones from the early days of my illness, was the most mortifying, the most frustrating, the most burdened with assumptions about young women and their bodies and brains. But I can’t seem to be able to do it. Not because there were so many, too many to choose from—there were—but because I know I wasn’t thinking like this at the time, that I was so new to sickness and, more importantly, to medicine, that I still assumed it was unfailing and perfectly rational, that if I answered all the questions and did everything the doctors told me, we would uncover what was wrong, then they would treat it, and then it would go away... What I’m saying is: it took me years to get this angry...

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Perhaps this one will be my last Sharehouse

published in Sydney Review of Books

...Every time I’ve moved house, or more precisely, the last four times I’ve moved house, I’ve thought: perhaps this one will be my last sharehouse. Every time I’ve moved house, I’ve realised that ‘the market’, as the agents say, has moved too in the intervening time, and I have had to adjust my expectations of how much rent I’m willing to pay. Every time I’ve moved house, since I first moved out of home (how much difference that single word makes) it has been because of forces outside of my control – a series of escalating rent hikes, one ridiculously high but somehow still legal rent hike, an owner moving back into his property, a defaulted mortgage, a sale....

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State Your Intentions

published in Overland

One of my friends has a story: she had been seeing a man she met on Tinder, casually, for around six months, and then mentioned, after a sexual health scare, that she wasn’t simultaneously seeing anybody else. He stopped answering her texts; she never heard from him again. One of my friends has a story: her date told her he had a blog and gave her the link, and when she looked it up after getting home it was misogynistic and spiteful, listing the full details of all of the ‘bad sex’ he had had on Tinder dates (she ruined my bedsheets; she said I triggered her and made me stop). One of my friends has a story: it was only three months in that she revealed she was married. One of my friends has a story: he tracked down her workplace and kept calling her there....

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For Love and Hunger

published in Sydney Review of Books

That is what hunger does for people like Teresa, for people like me. It outstrips failure, or at the very least, it makes failure something that is contingent, beyond our control: if we fail when we are hungry, we only fail because we are ill, not because of something lacking in ourselves. It is a strange kind of power hunger gives us. Beyond that physical drivenness, hunger allows us to hold our potential as just that: potential. Hunger keeps our potential untested; it is limitless because we can not access it entirely...

To be a Tulip: Leslie Jamison's The Recovering

published in Sydney Review of Books

About halfway through The Recovering, Leslie Jamison writes about a conversation she has with an ex-alcoholic: ‘I listened to his story as a writer – for its themes and climax – but I mainly heard it another way: as a woman who still wanted to drink more than she wanted to do anything else.’ And as I read this, my breath got caught in my chest: because this is how I couldn’t help but read this book, as a writer, yes, and as a woman still (still) in the grip of my compulsions, still trying to learn to live with them, or around them or beside them or whatever the position may turn out to be...

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Helen Garner's Stories and True Stories

published in Sydney Morning Herald/ Age

Garner's skill is in precision – in noticing small details and recognising their significance (a copy of Don Quixote and a thermometer under a bed that speak to the unknowability of others, an ugly houndstooth jacket that becomes a kind of disillusion in and of itself); or else in capturing small pieces of dialogue that mean far more than their speakers actually intend to say: a woman who says she's "zapping her parasites", a high-school student who asks, during an impromptu (and now infamous) conversation about sex, "Why does the woman get all the pain?"

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Someone We Adored: Laura McPhee-Browne's Cherry Beach
published in Sydney Review of Books

Ask any queer girl, I have learnt, and every single one of us had that one friend, usually in high school, whom we liked a bit too much, who we were enchanted by. Sometimes a very best friend, sometimes a girl on the periphery of a friendship circle, but always, always someone we adored, regardless of whether or not we understood exactly why. Ask any queer girl, and they can say that one friend’s name without thinking, even decades later, tell you how she looked and spoke and moved...

and they are angry
published in Overland

and they apologise in all their emails

and they remember where they put their keys

and they buy vegetables and milk

and they’re assumed to be on birth control

and they write perhaps and arguably and in a sense

and they are sympathetic

and they have internal ultrasounds

and they carry band-aids in their purses...

Vibrations
published in Cordite Poetry Review

I just ended that one with the Hispanic boy. I’m always thinking,
sexually, mentally, physically, whatever, there’s an end,
and that makes it less. Just less. Even if it’s just
that one of you dies. It makes it less.
My last one, you know, he’d go down
stairs and play the piano, anytime he was happy,
or angry, or sad, or bored, or whatever, he’d go downstairs
to the piano, it was instead
of conversation..

Autumn Poem
published in Overland

I am ankle-deep in leaves

and though the days burn bright

the fast-falling evening has a bite now:

I watch a small child pointing

with blunt fingers (yours are moon-like,

soft, nails longer and lovelier than mine)

at the desiccating leaves along the footpath...

 
 
© 2018 by Fiona Wright