The idea for the story came to me after reading William Wordsworth’s Ode to Immortality. In his ode, Wordsworth tells how in our youth we have a keen sense of immortality that deteriorates as we grow older. In childhood, every common sight seems apparelled in celestial light but this vision is lost with age. I had not yet read Carl Jung’s ideas about the anima – a female component in a man’s psyche that can die away as he grows older. The anima is responsible for his aesthetic appreciation of life. With its demise, life transitions into mere existence. I thought it might be interesting to tell a story involving a young man and a companion who is actually part of his psyche – a part that I would later identify as his anima. John Donne’s Anniversary elegies had some influence. In them he mourns the death of Elizabeth Drury, a fourteen year old girl who died in 1610. With her demise, the world is seen to be degenerate – to have undergone a transition similar to those perceived by Wordsworth after his childhood vision has altered and by Jung with the loss of the anima.

His Ode to Immortality

His elegy poems
about Elizabeth Drury

A longing articulated by
some thoughtful people
and accomodated in a
number of languages

Read some passages
from the story.