The first of many trips across high Dartmoor to Dartington in the next ten days.
You can hope for sunshine up top but yesterday was pewter skies and downpours en route, and mist of the 'fog-lamp-on' variety on return, plus daft sheep and horses sleeping in the middle of the road as usual.
Obviously it's quite a trek just for one event and I have planned a few full days later in the week, but I didn't want to miss Salley Vickers talking about her latest book Dancing Backwards and contrary to my preference for pre-reading, I hadn't read this one.
Salley Vickers, a Jungian psychotherapist and someone I have inadvertently let slip off my reading radar since her third book Mr Golightly's Holiday and for no reason other than this happens sometimes. Like many I loved Miss Garnett's Angel and actually feel up for another read of that now it's come back to mind.
Always interesting to hear a writer say they don't read their own books and can only get a feel for the shape of them once the readers have had their say, and for Salley this book, so recently published, has had little feedback yet and thus is still finding its place in her mind.
It's easy to forget and good to be reminded of the part readers play in this process, and as Salley elaborated in questions at the end, (all asked by fellow psychotherapists who seemed to be there in abundance) books don't come to life until they are read, it's the strange alchemy, that meeting at the crossroads between the writer, the book and the reader which will reveal so much.
I'm intrigued about suggestions that this book emerged during a period of tribulation in Salley's life seven years ago, was set aside unfinished and has been revisited again this year after another period of tribulation; this in the form of illness requiring a general anaesthetic and then completed in that recovery period.
Salley suggested that it was as if those arcs of tribulation somehow connected and brought Dancing Backwards to fruition.
The book's themes interest me too and I will definitely be reading it; a late-flowering return to creativity, forgiveness, coming to terms with being alone, and a proper assimilation of the past acting as a catalyst to these themes and there's apparently a cruise involved, so now I can't wait.
If you've been on one you'll know that life aboard a cruise ship is hugely and endlessly fascinating from lifeboat practice and all the iceberg jokes, to origami towels arranged on the bed each night, to the myriad of people trapped in this enormous floating world and on reflection a vast source of writerly material. Salley Vickers gathered hers from aboard the QE II but it all sounded very familiar, especially the napkin-folding tuition class and the food every twenty minutes.
Another comment to emerge in questions was in relation to Salley's forthcoming involvement with bibliotherapy and, as the venue is Liverpool, I'm thinking this might be in connection with Phil and Jane Davies and The Reader magazine, much loved and respected here. The suggestion that a great book understands us and illuminates parts of our soul gave me so much to think about and it will be good to welcome Salley Vickers to the dovegreyreader asks...armchair soon and find out much more.
A great start to the ten days, supper at The Warren House Inn on the way home, and sat by the fire that has not gone out since 1845, so think of that, before Jane Eyre was published.
Crackling away nicely t'was and mighty glad we were of it too.