“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”Virginia Woolf
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The other reason I haven’t been writing posts recently is that I have been trying to focus on another project. I’ve had an idea for a new novel, and I got quite excited about it, because it’s the first time I’ve had anything like inspiration for fiction writing in – literally – years. It’s still very much just a WIP: I have a main character and the barest of outlines of a story arc. But it is definitely progress of a sort.
This is a weird time of year for me. I love the spring, blossom is everywhere, the swallows are here, we heard a cuckoo the other day – not to mention nightingales! But at the same time, I always dread the arrival of the end of April.
One often hears it said that death is the last taboo. While this isn’t generally true in all cultures, it probably is in mine (I am British – even now, we don’t much like to talk about our feelings). But it wasn’t always this way. In Victorian Britain, much was made of death, probably because then it was a more familiar concept.
For those of you new to my blog, I should explain that my parents died when I was young: my Dad when I was almost 10, my Mum when I was 14. Her sudden death at home was quite a traumatic experience for a young person, but in 1972, there was little or nothing in the way of counselling or support on offer, and that only served to make me bury my feelings deeper. It’s only with the benefit of experience and hindsight that I can see how what happened continued to ricochet through my life for decades.
A few days ago, I noticed that the cowslips had begun to appear in the ditches hearabouts, seemingly overnight. Such a pleasure to see those pale yellow candelabras! It’s one of the joys of living in this part of France – there is little intensive arable farming and they maintain the hedges and ditches by the roads so well that wildflowers still thrive in a way I haven’t seen in Suffolk since my childhood.
I have so many memories of my Mum, but the happy ones often involve food. Coming home from school to the smell of baking; licking the spoon when she made a fruit cake; ‘helping’ her by pushing pieces of apple through the Spong mincer when she made mincemeat in the autumnal preparations for Christmas…
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