I lay in bed this morning and listened to Storm Doris battering the house (and that was before the winds reached their full force)
and thought about my own Storm Doris – or perhaps I should think about a new name rather than jumping on poor old Doris’s back!
I have been very depressed with the pains I’m experiencing from the side effects of one of the drugs, which I mentioned in a previous blog. The consultant and my GP have told me the nerves can take weeks/months to heal so the future is not look very rosy. I’ve also been told to increase the dose of the pain relief, which has its own ‘glorious’ set of side effects!
I started thinking about how often writers use external storms to convey internal storms. The obvious one for me is King Lear:
Blow, winds! Blow until your cheeks crack! Rage on, blow! Let tornadoes spew water until the steeples of our churches and the weathervanes are all drowned. Let quick sulfurous lightning, strong enough to split enormous trees, singe the white hair on my head. Let thunder flatten the spherical world, crack open all the moulds from which nature forms human beings, and spill all the seeds from which ungrateful humans grow!
I went on to think about Jane Eyre – a novel I taught for A level, and started to love more than when I first read it. After Rochester proposes to Jane, a storm follows:
The chestnut tree under which Rochester proposed now ails, “writhing and groaning” in the roaring wind. Thunder and lightning crack and clash, so Jane and Rochester are forced to race back to the house in the pouring rain. The relationship has reached the zenith of ripeness, and a fallow, tragic time is on the way, symbolized by this raging storm. During the night, lightning splits the great chestnut tree, foreshadowing the separation that will soon befall Jane and Rochester. (Spark Notes – apologies for using this. I would prefer to write my own analysis, but in this case, needs must.)
The splitting of the chestnut tree is clearly highly symbolic.
I also feel sad as Steve Hewlett, whom I wrote about in previous blog as being hugely inspirational to many people, died on Monday. I will miss his interview with Eddie Mair on Radio Four. There was a lovely tribute to him on yesterday’s Media Show, which he presented, even when he was very ill.
One of the downsides for me of this whole thing for me has been the almost collapse of everything to do with my writing career. I’m not writing, not teaching creative writing; my books have stopped selling and I’m not getting invitations to speak any more. All this is very depressing as I’m not sure I’ll get it back when I am better. So I was cheered up the other day to receive and email from a librarian from a library where I’ve given talks before, saying she’d just finished The Broken Road, and how much she loved it. She read it in a day and a half as she couldn’t put it down. Wonderful news. She also invited me to come and talk in May/June, so I’m really hoping I will be able to do that.