Wednesday, 8 September 2010
An exciting jiffy bag full of books arrived through the post yesterday. It contained the advance copies of The Dead of Winter and the paperback of Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth. Both are published at the beginning of October. More about them later.
Back to Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror. . .
The next story in the book is called Offerings and is another favourite of mine. Again, it has an East Anglian setting. Whilst I did not have any particular Suffolk village in mind when I wrote it, I did have a very clear image of a lovely medieval church with its handsome Georgian rectory. There is no shortage of either in Suffolk.
As for the story, I'm really not sure where that came from. Part of the genesis came when watching my son absorbed in playing with his toy soldiers and action figures of various kinds. I could stand and watch him and he would be totally oblivious to me, completely caught up in his imaginary world.
This ability children have to be utterly absorbed in the moment is something I am nostalgically jealous of. Mostly, of course, this play is benign, but children also have the capacity to be cruel. I wanted to explore the idea that a bored boy could become distracted by something deeply unpleasant. In that it owes something to Saki, I think.
My own son (like me) is an animal nut - a lover of wildlife and fascinated by nature. I think I was perhaps thinking of that and what might be the most transgressive thing imaginable when it came to finally revealing what Robert was up to with his hammer and nails in that rectory garden.
I also think there was a memory of (an atypically surreal, it has to be said) Alan Clarke directed, David Rudkin penned, Play for Today called Penda's Fen about a vicar's son who falls under the influence of all kinds of weird visitations. I remember finding it very disturbing indeed. I have never seen it since, although I think it may now be available on DVD.
I wonder if I dare take another look. . .