Columns | Something Medieval, Something New

My Year with Julian of Norwich

In the midst of terrible isolation, reading Julian’s feverish words about her visions helped me feel sane. Here was another woman, enclosed.

This is a columnin which Alice Lesperance considers our culture and her own experiences through the lens of Medieval literature.

Revelations of Divine Love

I wonder what it must have felt like, for Julian, to be enclosed not just physically, but spiritually. To be the middle part of the snake between the head and the tail, comforted by the endless circling and the lack of redirection or disruption. Her enclosure was rapturous, and it made her feel safe.

It was a week that ended with me walking into traffic, catatonic.

The pages before and after the chart are filled with desperate sentences, fragmented lists, and worrying doodles. There’s a page with writing so frantic I can’t make it out, except for a line that reads, “(i have to stop isolating myself),” and another page that’s just the word “lonely” written over and over.

I wrote and wrote while I lost my mind, and when I wasn’t writing in the park or at coffee shops, I was writing in that room, in that house. Living in that room was like a haunting, but I was the only one there.


Revelations of Divine Love