You’re looking for the recipe aren’t you? Forgive me, but for one day only there isn’t one. Today is more ‘Love’ than ‘Licked Spoon’.
You see, my mother’s latest book comes out tomorrow. She’s written shelves and shelves of them over the years. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing and this is probably why I can cook. As children, my brother and I were welcome to do anything which kept us quiet and absorbed our energies and attention while mum filled notebooks and battled with carbon papers. For my brother, this included rugby and embroidery. For me, it meant hours in the kitchen producing dishes of varying degrees of accomplishment and deliciousness.
This new book, The Romancer: On being a writer is a departure. All of her previous books have been novels. This one is a memoire combined with an exploration of the process of writing, showing the links between her daily life and her writing life and how one feeds the other. As she says ‘truth and fiction, like two hands clasping’.
I’m blessed with amazing parents who, despite being very different from one another, have forged a marriage which has lasted almost fifty years. My dad is the kind of man who polishes his shoes every day and has never owned a pair of jeans. My mum likes beads and scarves and flowing things in velvet.
For many years, neither of my parents wore wedding rings (mum does now, but it’s quite a recent development). Last year they both forgot their wedding anniversary. Not very romantic, you might think. You’d be wrong. Here is what she has to say about marriage…
‘This is a marriage that went to work and loved it, that had flowers in its hair, that wore sober suits and hippy skirts. It walked children in second-hand prams, and sat in cafes writing while they rolled around on the floor. It went to PTA meetings. It took holidays by the seaside that needed two ponchos to keep warm. It went to the races, to rugby matches and to school plays. It waved off children to their new lives and welcomed them back again. It watched cricket and football and cop shows on TV. It read newspapers at length. It read books and wrote them. And it delivered heavy manuscripts to the Post Office. It visited clinics and hospitals and held its breath. It’s a marriage that travels and continues to relish the youngest, the boy who loves chocolate. It’s a marriage that still holds hands.’