Anne Bronte and Me

Why my story should be interesting to others I cannot say. In all likelihood it will sink into obscurity as do all things  outside the grand stage of recorded history. Yet great writers and artists can leave a mark centuries after their brief lives are over, even if during their lifetime they remained virtually unknown.

Anne Bronte’s more famous sister remarked in the forward to Agnes Grey that her sister possessed no worldly wisdom;

Her powers were unadapted to the practical business of life, an interpreter should have always stood between her and the world.

So what is it that makes me want to write this story?

I came across this passage in re-reading Suite Français by someone who in the most devastating and graphic circumstances left one such mark. Although in her short lifetime she was already a successful author in the French language, this novel by Irene Nemirovsky was famously published after her death in Auschwitz in 1942  when the hand written manuscript was discovered  after the war.

He wanted to write a story. He felt he had to hurry: something inside him was making him anxious, was knocking on an invisible door. By writing he opened that door, he gave life to something that wished to be born. Then suddenly, he would become discouraged, feel disheartened, weary. He was mad. Why was he writing these stupid stories when the future was so uncertain?

None of the Bronte sisters were learned;

..they wrote from the impulse of nature, the dictates of intuition, and from such stores of observation their experience had enabled them to amass.

I remind myself that writing is the important thing; to open that door. It is for me like picking up coloured crayons long past childhood, unlocking a world to which somehow you alone have access, trying to capture the essence of a moment, a feeling or scene in a superbly crafted phrase, as evocative as a mood conveyed in an arresting photograph. This story opens with the first paragraph I have written above, it is not my life story but born from the experience it has enabled me to amass, and like Anne Bronte the impulse of nature and the dictates of intuition.