Charlotte and I have made a discovery!

Which just goes to show that you’re never too young or too old to learn.

But to begin at the beginning, because we try to be methodical souls!

My last agent has left the company and taken a job elsewhere – I suspect so she can spend rather more time with her husband and quite right too. She told us just before Christmas and also told us that my books would be in the care of her colleague Dan who would soon be getting in touch with us. So in order to make his life a little easier – perhaps – we have written lists of the books already published and added smaller ones of other things I’ve written over the years, like plays and poetry and short stories. Sorting out the short stories was an eye opener. I thought there would be maybe half a dozen, but Charlotte discovered an entire folder full, most of which I had forgotten. There’s a lot of stuff in a library that’s been accumulating for the last 43 years – I should be so old!

This picture shows only part of it. There’s a lot more on the other side of the room and below them a long desk and four packed cupboards and in amongst the packaging, a file of short stories which we counted. There were fifteen and apart from a couple, I’d forgotten them all.

As literary mothers go, I’m afraid I’m a bad one! But perhaps there are occasional reasons for it. One of the stories was so gruesome I think I had quite deliberately put it out of my mind, because it was about a rocket falling on a house in the East end, while a little boy who lived there was out running an errand for his mother. I think it is possible that it is one of the most violent and truthful accounts of a wartime experience I have ever written and I suspect that I hadn’t so much forgotten it, as put it out of my mind.

War, as anyone will tell you who has lived through one, and lived it in a war zone, is a filthy, ugly, cruel, shattering business.

Now, I’m left with a problem, do I send my short stories to a man who could possibly be my new agent and run the risk of putting him off forever? Or do I play safe and put them under the covers and hide them away.

Horrible though it is to say it, they were written from the life, so I thought it might be useful at this stage to give you just a small, gobbet of it, however violent, to see what you think. So here it is…

‘He ran through the nightmare, weeping as he ran, as the things fell out of the sky, bricks and bits of masonry, bits of furniture, bits of people. ‘Mum! Mum!’ and he saw horrors that were too dreadful for him to comprehend, a horse’s head lying in the gutter with its eyes still open and ragged lumps of red meat sticking out of its neck, a child’s leg, smeared with blood and black grime and still wearing a buckled shoe just like his sister’s, a tram squashed like a concertina with all the people still sitting inside it, bolt upright and covered in dust and dead. ‘Mum! Oh Mum!’


7 thoughts on “Charlotte and I have made a discovery!

  1. Morning Beryl, this little snippet had me wanting to read more to follow the boy but I personally found it rather graphic although I do understand it’s the times it was written about. Happy New Year xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you should send to him yes! War is horrible — I cannot imagine what is going on in the Ukraine – where I’ve been btw — visited Kiev in high school and loved the young people I met! They knew more about British and American music than I did! We played THEIR LPs and exchanged ideas (and they tried to buy my blue jeans). When Russian invaded a year ago I posted this: Blake dictionary “Satan” is error. . . . Satan is not a person: he is “the State of Death & not a human existence ” (J 49:67). . . .The supreme manifestation of Satan in this world is war. When liberty is generally under attack, “a Vast Hermaphroditic form” takes hideous shape; “at length an awful wonder burst from the Hermaphroditic bosom: Satan he was nam’d . . . a male without a female counterpart . . . yet hiding the shadowy female Vala as in an ark & Curtains . . . being multitudes of tyrant Men in union blasphemous against the Divine image, Congregated of assemblies of wicked men (FZ viii:248-58). War springs from suppressed sex.” S. Foster Damon

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my fellow Beryl , I can’t imagine that anything you wanted to write, would offend anyone?
    Fancy having all those books ! Beryl XX


  4. A man named Ted Robinson lived in Sudley Road, Bognor Regis during the war with his mum, Gran and another sibling. He was sent to the laundry to collect washing and whilst there a bomb demolished his childhood, his home and the occupants of the rented property.
    His father, who drove lorry-loads of munitions from A to B at Portsmouth, had moved the family from Peckham, as he was worried they’d be more liable to ‘cop it’ in the bombing.
    I knew Ted when he lived at Turret House in Felpham. He was a talented artist who had qualified as an architect after the war and regularly took the bus to Chichester to visit Pallant House on the free days.


    • The Sudley road bomb was renowned for being the only bomb in Bognor that actually destroyed a house. There were other bombs just thrown out but they fell in the fields. If it’s any comfort, Peckham was very heavily bombed so his father had exactly the right idea. We were evacuated to Felpham for the same reasons.


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