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I was interested in something said to me recently about personal peace in relation to her book.
My novel, Sweet Earth, started out as a love story and soon became a journey far wider than that particular focus.
Spanning the years between 1916 and 1960 it follows the parallel lives of a group of women, some who survive to reflect upon the years, and others who become casualties.
I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of things around me, the extraordinary within the ordinary and observe the world often in that way.
In my book, ‘Sweet Earth,’ peace is in death and also in life. For example, near the end of the novel, we read about the peace of reflection in tranquillity, after many years have weathered, resolved or calmed the inevitable resonances of the past. We look back with provenance to a place of regeneration, High Wood, now redolent of a haunted stillness. Tears of peace and poignancy come to Lynne’s eyes. She gives back the token at the grave of her lover and is conscious she is returning a particle of unity and so enhances a type of, ‘previous peace’, in resolution and finality. She can be at peace with herself now maybe? As life enters the solitary twilight of the years she consolidates her peace as we all would wish to.
Earlier on in the story, as trench warfare is at its height, Alex finds peace as he gives up responsibility to others who carry him from the field of battle, amid the falling snow. They too are at risk and the ‘peace is an illusion’. The snow is an hypnotic motion that may carry with it a release by death. But there is a peace in that action too; giving up to the fates. The body is exhausted and shuts down.
Many years later when the two women, Simone and Evelyn, who have experienced the process of occupation and persecution, revisit the places of the two wars, they find the peace of another. Madame Chupin, peaceful in old age and unafraid. Her peace has an untouchable quality which is unique to the ancients who are in peaceful harmony of the certainty of things and hope to wait in dignified acceptance.
When all the energy has become creative wisdom and the anger has resolved into understanding, even those who rage can glimpse peace and evade the torment of the agitator within himself. Tilda’s husband rationalises his fate to the benefit of those around him. He finds some peace in his decision to be independent from his remaining family and does not inflict his discontent upon them. His choice, after Tilda’s suicide and his survival at the end of the war, is to withdraw from the things that will provoke the inevitable tide of contention and to endure a solitary peace. He has actually become generous in his ability to give something back to others.
Emotional peace and physical peace are for me very much linked as the organism is sensitive in its reliance of one upon the other, and dependent upon that for a rounded sense of well being.
My more peaceful moments are when that harmony is obvious to me and if one is honest, some days are less harmonious than others. The peaceful moments are rare in their quality and glamour, so dear readers as you turn the pages of my book I hope you find the glimpses where the light catches and invites you on. ‘Sweet Earth’ by Jenny Dunbar www.lockpublishing.com
The intense years punctuated lives with a totality which is difficult for the ignorant to understand, and the intervening calm became another type of pause. While we are in the moment we cannot escape the force of its presence, but after we extricate ourselves time alters our impression and dilutes its intensity. For some the nightmares return unexpectedly, unleashed by an…Continue
As respite from writing I often take to the workshop, even in winter. Yesterday offered an opportunity to grasp an hour or two of sunshine and milder air. Making vessels out of the clay distracts and facilitates a space in my mind, so the next paragraph of the uncompleted novel can begin to emerge. …Continue
Taking time out, especially when travelling, focuses the imagination upon the passing trivia, amongst other things, and the potential in that as well as the challenge of the less mundane when it presents itself. I refer to trains sometimes in my stories, because I like travelling in them I suppose. I love their sedate rhythm and pace, even high speed seems to relax one into silent…Continue
Tellers of Tales
A traditional ballad singer sings within the framework of the ballad form, and an experienced and skilled performer uses techniques of improvisation, decoration and emphasis, where it is appropriate and which may emotionally transcend the boundaries of the form in the experience of the listener. The ballad often includes a repeated line, which is in itself a powerful technique and accentuates the accumulating drama of the piece.
The tune also can be sparse, yet…Continue