Excerpt from one of Norma’s diaries, from The Memory Palace, published by Free Press / Simon & Schuster
Flooding in streets, awoke to more rain. Went for coffee and toast then out again at four a.m. for the obligatory pie. Fell asleep at motel, thinking I wouldn’t mind sitting in on a séance to see if I can plummet something or someone in my subconscious I have never known and should have known, someone from my family perhaps? Then I thought, I wonder how those white birds can fly so far from the lake, and yet are in this area when it rains? These days, one must carry an umbrella wherever one goes.
Woke up today with strong desire to be “home.” Memory of three figures sitting on the piano bench—two obscured, one a smiling corpse. If I ever have anything close to a normal life, I might feel like killing myself. I have not found my little Atlas since the flood. I think it was stolen. Why? Why the persistent harassment? Wasn’t there something that was going to be done for me? My American College Dictionary was stolen too. I feel toward it as a child feels toward a teddy bear. My reading has been, since the womb, a hodge-podge of letters in a foreign script I have not yet learned. Dream again, this time of Myra who won’t obey me and is trying to run away. There are spectators who leave in cars down a rain-drenched street. The White Goddess says: do not go into that part of the forest but I am always in that part of the forest so what can I do? I wish I had a better biography of myself. Will have better memory when I do more drawings. At our first apartment in Cleveland, the girls made drawings for the walls. I remember sitting there alone, not seeing the pictures even though they were in every room. Memory is tricky. Was I projected into the future? I am feeling distance from the old me. You might say I am wrong but I have evidence: shoes with heels I have not worn in years, my music in storage, this endless, pulsing rain.