Sunday, 28 September 2014
A Golden Autumn, Spiders, and 'STREAMING' by Enid Richemont
It's been an especially beautiful September - my favourite month - and I've been watching the year slowly dying in a haze of gold. My London back garden is full of colour. Today I picked my last runner beans, and was starting to remove the stems which were infested with blackfly when the structure up which they'd been growing collapsed, reminding me cruelly that it's been a year and a half now since I lost my beloved David who set up the beanpoles in the first place.
Recently, I've been meditating on my own death, and, indeed, death itself. In my work, I've always found endings difficult - they have to be perfect, rounded, right (would that life were like that) and I've often fantasised about having a convenient 'END NOW' button I could click at an appropriate time. To be honest, it's not just a fantasy. I have recently become a member of Exit International. The 'appropriate time' is certainly not now, but I would like to think that, if that time came, I could have that choice.
September spiders have been weaving their extraordinary magic too - I've seen a posy of dead leaves spinning on a single silver thread, forming a perfect mobile. Spiders are so entrepreneurial - trying out contact between the most unlikely of objects (today a connection between my garden wall and a plastic chair, one which I felt would be too vandalistic to remove). Two years ago, the sight of so many of these delicate structures destined to be broken became the inspiration for 'ARABELLA'S WEB', published by Franklin Watts and coming out early next year. Our personal 'Arabella' decided to weave her web between the wing mirror and our car, thus hitching a lift between London and Cornwall, and she didn't even know she was travelling!
From time to time, I enjoy a good crime novel, and my author of choice for these is Ruth Rendell. I love the way she plots, like a symphony, allowing us to experience the sounds/colours/smells of her characters, and then weaving them together so cleverly. Dickens used the same technique, which, when I was forced to read him as an adolescent, I found irritating, because as soon as I was involved with one set of people, he would switched to another - well, I've grown up since then. Recently, though, I've been reading Donna Leon, with her detective, Brunetti, living and working in Venice. A very different kind of storytelling, much more linear, and with the city itself as the backdrop, and the relationship between Brunetti and his wife, and his closest colleagues, far more important than the psychologies of his criminals. An interesting contrast. On the whole, I want to know WHY they dunnit, rather than WHO dunnit - all the minute building blocks leading up to disaster.