Breezy wind rising and shaking the trees at the back of the garden, The house smells heliotrope, scented freesias and burnt toast. I’m sitting with a mug of Kenyan coffee while browsing lazily around the Internet and rounding up favourite reads to share.
Those letters we write to the self who wants to sober up, to the self who doesn’t as yet exist, the self waiting in the wings to be called on cue, the self who might emerge if we change our lives to day, right now, this very minute; I liked this from Mrs D.
And yet what should have been his vintage years were also blighted by increasingly heavy drinking. In 2007, Goodman checked into a rehabilitation centre to get himself sober.
“It was getting to be too much,” he tells me. “It was 30 years of a disease that was taking its toll on everyone around me and it had got to the point where, every time I did it, it was becoming more and more debilitating. It was life or death. It was time to stop.”
Was the alcohol affecting his work? “Yes, it certainly was.”
In what respect? “Erm,” he says. “Temperament. Memory. Depression.”
Halloween sneaking up on us. Woke up from a dream in which I was watching a ghost story unfold, a dead mother returning to visit her gay son and tell him something he doesn’t want to hear. In the dream I was a guest at the dining table, but was also sitting with a pen in my hand scribbling down the story on paper napkins as it played out in front of me. Now I wonder if the dream story will survive a journey into fiction written by the awoken self. What interests me most about ghost stories is not the ghost but the person who sees the ghost, the person who consents to being haunted or visited. As George Bernard Shaw remarked to the more credulous Henry James: “No man who doesn’t believe in a ghost ever sees one.”
Planted up seed trays of opal basil and a wild rocket from north Italy. In my imagination, the leaves are lush and tender, ready for picking and I have bowls full of homegrown sliced tomatoes, snipped chives and spring onions, a masterpiece of a salad in composition. In reality of course I am just another over-optimistic rosy-spectacled idealist of a gardener.