Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Chapel Cottage Acer

Several of my friends become depressed at this time of year, dread of winter denying them the joys of autumn's brilliance. By contrast, I love this season - perhaps because I have an October birthday, perhaps because something in me loves the undercurrent of melancholy in the great blaze of colour.

It's also a quieter time of year. I love Hardy's lines: "all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires". I can sink into myself and become immersed in my writing, knowing that the world is less likely to intrude.

To Autumn, from which I have taken the title for today's blog, is a great favourite of mine. Keats was the first poet with whom I fell in love and thinking of him sometimes takes me back to the agony of my 'A' Level choices.

For English, two of the papers were compulsory: Shakespeare and Poetry Appreciation. For our third paper, there was a notional choice between the Romantics and the Moderns. To be told that girls like Romantic poetry so the boys would all be studying the Moderns was heart-breaking and yet, looking back, studying T.S. Eliot in particular did extend my range enormously and Eliot now is one of my idols.

Of course, I don't have a trace of Modernism in me; all that I have written, apart from a few satirical pieces, has a Romantic core. Nevertheless, insofar as I have written anything of worth, that sense that other writers coming from different perspectives are somehow looking over my shoulder with a high degree of scepticism has made me more self-conscious and more ambitious in my writings.

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