“I am not entirely content with the degree of whiteness in my life. My bedroom is white: white walls, icy mirrors, white sheets and pillowcases, white slatted blinds. It’s the best I could do. Some lack of courage — I wouldn’t want to be thought extreme — has prevented me from having a white bedstead and side-tables. They are wood, and they annoy me a little. Opposite my bed, in the very small room, a wall of mirrored cupboards reflects the whiteness back at itself, making it twice the size it thought it was. Some time ago, I had a builder in to make another room. He wanted to know what I was going to do with the walls. White, I told him, like the walls throughout the flat. `I suppose it stops arguments about what wallpaper to have,’ he said unenthusiastically. It was the only good reason he could think of for having white walls.
In the morning, if I arrange myself carefully when I wake, I can open my eyes to nothing but whiteness. The soft white of the sheet, with darker white shadows in the folds of the duvet. A brasher white with scored lines at the point where the walls meet the ceiling or turn the corner: ninety-degree angles in shades of white. A repetition of white when I raise my eyes slightly to the mirror opposite. Morning moments of indescribable satisfaction. Eventually, I’ll have to let colours in to my day, but for a while I can wallow in a seemingly boundless expanse of white.”
“The Arctic would have been easier, but I had no desire to head north. I wanted white and ice for as far as the eye could see, and I wanted it in the one place in the world that was uninhabited (never mind the penguins, seals and base camp personnel for the time being). I wanted a place where Sister Winniki couldn’t exist. I wanted my white bedroom extended beyond reason. That was Antarctica, and only Antarctica.”
proof that this apple at least fell far, far from the tree. Diski is a great writer and I can see myself in much of what she writes. The whiteness she seeks both in her life and in the ice and snow make perfect sense when the pieces of her jigsaw begin to meld together. It’s brevity in many ways belies its depth. Just like the icebergs she passes.