Monday 28 September 2009

The Imagination and Starr in Trouble

Work in Progress.
Following on my theme of The Imagination as a tool for the writer, here's an extract from At The Maison d'Estella where Starr, who is in deep trouble, contemplates her situation and 'remembers the future'.

(From the chapter called The Fox...)

I crouch here in the smallest of spaces. I think I've been in this poky stinking space for two days and two nights. There's a slit high in the wall and in daytime it fills the room with grim grey light; at night the room is pitch black. I've made marks in the hard earth floor with my heel: one for each night. I thought straight away that keeping track of time would be a useful thing to do

I have to use the corner of the room as a latrine and I survive on water thrust through a hole in the door every few hours. For two nights I have not even seen the night sky. At first the darkness by night and the dimness by day is all engulfing. But this forces me inwards, makes me contemplate this dream I'm inhabiting or which is inhabiting me - I don't know which.

Every hour or so I deliberately bring Modeste’s face before me. And then I call up Tib’s honest, wise stare. I've been bringing into my mind the day I saw them both in Agde, the town they now call Good Fortune. I think of them on the canal boat – Modeste with his book and the boy swimming in the water, racing the boat. I remind myself of Modeste in the guise of Louis, the twenty first century scholar with a mission.

I remember lying on the roof of my house, Olga by my side, looking up at the night sky for Virgo.

I remember Madame Patrice in the café with Misou her little dog. And I conjure up the vision of Tib’s mother Serina who - in her deep soul - is also Madame Patrice and also loves Misou. And in these two dark days how many times have I conjured up that backward glance of the Empress which contains so much of my Siri in its bright gaze?

This is all very hard but I have to make this painful effort to to remember the future, to give myself some distance from this stinking room where I am forced to use the corner as a latrine.
Only a glimpse, but I hope you like it.


  1. You're giving us some very intriguing glimpses here, Wendy. Not giving anything vital away, but tantalising! I'm enjoying The Woman who Drew Buildings and look forward to reading the rest of Starr.

  2. Dear Kathleen

    I have this wild idea that every part of a novel contains the DNA of the whole novel. Maybe this extract does just this for this novel...

    Pleased, nay, relieved! that you're enjoying The Woman Who Drew Buildings. Every novel is such a different creature.

  3. dear wendy,
    Sorry but I will not be there on Friday as i must go to hospital for a apointment to se the specalist at Sunderland Royal . Would have been thier if I could See you next time will leave my Blackout story best wishes david lee



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