Radnor High School alumnus Elyse Pitock '11 published a work of fiction in The New York Times on Dec. 2.
The Barnard College sophomore said her essay was inspired by her experience suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, she told the Columbia Spectator, which published an article about her.
“I wanted to hit a picture of what it feels like to be anxious; a jarring feeling that tells you that everything is really important: heart pounding, wrong decisions, everything going disastrously,” she told the Spectator. “I wanted to make the work as dramatic as possible.”
Pitock's piece opens:
When the world ends, you and the handful of other survivors are going to fight each other for what’s left. There’s going to be a little food and potable water, and a bit of inhabitable space. Maybe people speak the same language, or maybe they don’t, but words don’t matter anymore. It matters who is lucky and cunning and ambitious and strong. People eat things that you, here and now, would never dream of touching. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because the world is about to end, but if nothing else, you have a strong survival instinct. This is why, when you see something that appears to be edible, you don’t know whether to starve to death or risk being poisoned. They’re two means to the same end.
Pitock has been a recipient of the Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights award and Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwrights, Inc. National Playwriting award.