Speaking of Love – Extract
I have come home, after a long and difficult journey. I travelled alone and it was some time before I realised that I had arrived.
I am in Wales to tell my stories. My bedroom is high in the watchtower of a mediaeval castle and through the window I can see the tiered lawns that cascade down from the castle walls to the Bristol Channel. Pennants flutter from the tops of the striped storytelling tents on the jousting field.
I stood in one of those tents last night. It was cavernous and empty, but I sensed a thousand pairs of eyes and a thousand pairs of ears. I shuffled self-consciously onto the wooden stage and found that my head was too heavy to lift; my voice too reedy to carry.
I had to force myself to breathe and it took me half an hour to find my voice. If that happens on Sunday my storytelling career will be stillborn.
But people tell stories all the time.
When I was in Salem a man told me about a nurse who arrived to take him to the ECT block with an umbrella.
‘To keep the snow from my head,’ he said and he laughed.
He told me that he and the nurse had walked side by side along the snow-covered path between snow-covered lawns, under the snow-laden trees. He told me he’d seen rabbit prints and deer prints in the snow, and the parallel prints of the patient and the nurse who’d gone before. He told me he’d walked in fresh snow because he wanted to see his own footprints on the way back.
‘That’s the only important thing,’ he said, and he slapped his thigh like an old-fashioned music hall entertainer. ‘Footprints.’
And if you’d like to hear (and see) me reading a (very) short extract, you can here.