I was very fortunate to have once been a student of Elizabeth Jolley. She wrote fiction that was heavily laced with fact; she changed names to protect the guilty; she took risks.
The primary reason that I have hesitated over the years (decades actually!) to write what I think is a rather spectacular love story, is due to the yucky bits of the story – the betrayals, conflicts, mysteries and agonies in and amongst its success.
By writing increments of this “Once upon a time” story, I face the challenge of writing about how Anthony and I dealt with the disapproval of our relationship from both sides – from both families – and from well-meaning friends.
Over the last few weeks I have blogged outside the “Once upon a time” story, with tidbits of information about a recent event that traumatised me, and reminded me of some of the yucky stuff from the past. These posts, some now deleted, or edited, are, privately, an avenue into the complicated past of my relationship with Anthony.
When I say rather dramatic things like ‘spectacular love story’ I only mean that it was against all odds – a 41-year-old and an 18-year-old (the beginning), and now (the ending?), a nearly 57-year-old girl/woman sitting in a nursing home with her hands hugged by his nearly 80-year-old fingers.
My recent truthful tidbits have earned me the angst of one family member and, conversely, the support of many others.
I remember, years ago, Elizabeth Jolly speaking to me about one of my short stories:
EJ: This is far too painful, dear. Rewrite it.