Lobster Urine : a Collection of Poems and Drawings
Toomey, Emma E.
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The author prefaces her original collection of poems and drawings by saying “I want to give readers not-so-guilty pleasures. I want to find joy in what academia as a whole might consider ‘dumb’ and then, dismiss. This project, like I’ve previously stated, explores how words are being privileged on the paper and how that can add layers to the context. My work centers around a time in my life where I was constantly at odds with myself. My grandmother had just died, and all I could think about was ‘do lobsters feel pain?’ I was drawn to this concept of how humans and animals process emotions similarly as well as differently. When I first proposed the project, I wanted to create an ‘Adult Children’s Book.’ Lobsters seemed like a great subject to work through that vehicle. They are boiled in water and potentially feel anxiety similarly to humans. They pee out of their eyes to communicate. With those things in mind, I loved creating these concepts of ‘communicating through liquids’ and understanding our potential ‘boiling points.’ I don’t know if I successfully created an ‘Adult Children’s Book’ or whatever that means. I think I just created a fun book of poems with drawings and themes that maybe parents don’t want their kids reading just quite yet. My decision to include drawings, comics, and pen marks over the typed written word were crucial to showing how my intrusive thoughts come off when I’m anxious. I wrote the character of lobster ‘Frank’ with the intention of him representing the sometimes ‘frank’ nature of anxiety and feelings surrounding grief. It’s, also, just so incredibly personal. I couldn’t express my feelings during this time without some mess. I needed my doodles, I needed my frantic pen marks, and I needed the freedom that shapes provide to my understanding of structure. I insisted that the piece was colorful because all my journals have Crayola smells. I, also, wanted the colors to add more layers of peace (blue), rage/overwhelmed (red), and perhaps confused/content (green.). It’s my weirdest work. It’s the hardest thing I’ve written. And I really hope that it makes you smile just a bit. I can’t have you thinking that I’m not that ‘deep.’”