Jessica L Wilkinson
Jessica L Wilkinson has published three poetic biographies, most recently Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond, 2019). She is the founding editor of Rabbit: A journal for nonfiction poetry. She co-edited the anthologies Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (2016) and Memory Book: Portraits of Older Australians in Poetry and Watercolours (2021), and is an associate professor in writing and publishing at RMIT University, Melbourne.
The rabbit real
Non-fictionI know you want to ask me if I had a difficult childhood, if I suffered physically or mentally in any way that might swerve from the ‘normal’ pattern of development. But I have nothing to report: no tales of abuse to exploit through memoir; no scars to split open for internal poking. I had friends when I wanted them but was also happy when alone with the rabbit. I was never spoiled with possessions, and my parents were playfully involved in the amusement of my sister and me (we were one of those daggy families who made short films about ghost houses and played charades by candlelight during blackouts). There’s no angry revelation (I don’t think) buried in my early years. All my fears, anxieties and self-loathing seem to have developed later in life, by which time I was already rabbit dependent. Of course, the assumption that such a deep attachment develops as the result of a troubled childhood is perhaps misguided, overlooking the fact that even an ‘ordinary’ childhood carries its legitimate stressors.