Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diana Wynne Jones: two alarming coincidences

I have written about some connections I made between certain scenes in Charlotte Brontë’s writings and events in her life. I doubt whether she ever realised that episodes she had created and dwelt on in her imagination had manifested in the real world.

Diana Wynne Jones is another matter. She did notice a connection between what she was writing about and unexpected, unwelcome incidents in her life:

“… And my books have developed an uncanny way of coming true. The most startling example of this was last year, when I was writing the end of A Tale of Time City. At the very moment when I was writing about all the buildings in Time City falling down, the roof of my study fell in, leaving most of it open to the sky.”
- The official autobiography, first published over ten years ago in Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 7

She wrote a scene in The Homeward Bounders in which a character is hit in the head with a cricket bat, and not a month later, her son was hit in the head with a cricket bat. She felt responsible, rather.

Charlotte Brontë and Diana Wynne Jones have childhood neglect and harsh treatment in common. Many other writers whose lives I have investigated had similar experiences. Is this all just chance, or could it have been arranged from behind the scenes? Are selected candidates deliberately put through processes designed to develop their creative imaginations? Does persecution strengthen the ability and inclination to perform psychological black magic?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nicholas Stuart Gray’s witch: Mother Gothel

The witch Mother Gothel appears in Nicholas Stuart Gray’s story The Stone Cage, which is a re-telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale. Rapunzel is a maiden with very long hair who is kept prisoner by a witch at the top of a tall stone tower.

The book is currently unobtainable: all I could find was the dramatized version of The Stone Cage, which is better than nothing. This play has also been performed under the name The Wrong Side of the Moon.

Mother Gothel as depicted in The Stone Cage is based on a real person - Nicholas Stuart Gray’s mother.

Mother Gothel is introduced
She is a witch, in the worst meaning of the word. A creature of malice, egotism and cruelty. She is so interested in herself, that she has little time to spare for anyone else’s feelings or well-being. She considers the world against her, and beneath her. She is absolutely alone, and does not even realise that she minds the fact…Once, long ago, she was beautiful. Now, she would be avoided by anyone with sense…”