September

plum tart Cool weather and mellow light – my mind returns to the maple leaves my parents would rake to the roadside and eventually burn, no antipollution by-laws back then, returns also to the delight my sister and I would take in leaping into the enormous piles. My father, hardly the most patient of men, seemed himself mellowed by the onset of autumn, for he never complained no matter how often we scattered his handiwork. I wonder why it’s this, among so many things I might remember, which remains most vivid.

I’m writing again, but each day is a struggle. You finish a novel, but once you make it public, all its flaws, large and small, inadvertent or deliberate, turn malignant and rapidly metastasise. And every word of criticism, no matter how justified – exactly when justified – is another pass of the blade without anaesthetic. At least there’s baking . . . yes, I turn out a very fine loaf. And we’ve had a glut of plums, sweet and juicy and touched by a delicate bloom, which make for wonderful tarts.

Here’s a link to a Lit Drift article about surviving unemployment as a writer for which I was interviewed. Author Alex Lam was far kinder to me than I deserve!