Giving Up

I’m a stayer, I stick at things, doggedly, well mostly. I try to. And I apply the same kind of perseverance to books but the one I began today at breakfast broke the pattern. I couldn’t get along with it. It wasn’t the story or plot as such but the exposition of it. It was badly written, at least in my opinion. I ended up watching the words rather than reading them. Nevertheless I don’t like giving up. Should I have continued beyond the first two chapters?’ I won’t give the author’s name. Others may approve, even enjoy his writing. I did not. So be it. I returned to Austen. She is familiar, much-known, much-loved. And the sentences are to be savoured, read and read over again, such as her mini portrait of Mrs Croft, Admiral Croft’s wife (played so wonderfully by Fiona Shaw in the film version of the book). ‘Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who has no distrust of herself, and no doubts of what to do..’ Isn’t that marvellous? So succinct, but so rich in detail. It says it all. And how lovely it would be to be Mrs Croft and have no distrust of oneself. Amen to that.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.