Sunday, October 16, 2005

Beryl On Bernice

A very moving and funny tribute in the Guardian by Beryl Bainbridge writing about her friend, the writer Bernice Rubens who died last year.
Some of our closeness was due to a certain similarity in the way our lives had begun, and progressed. As children we had both felt out of step, told lies, felt we were hard done by. As adults we had loved the men we married and they had walked away, crashing our hopes, after which we had gone in for gentleman callers. Both of us used fiction to make sense of the past. Both of us believed that had we been happier neither of us would have needed to write. The title of her memoir, When I Grow Up, is apt; we were both waiting for that to happen.
Oh gosh, I hope I'm still waiting to grow up at 75!

Rubens turns out to be the just-jump-into-it-type of novelist which is the only kind I know I can ever be:
Bernice wrote every day, working in pencil, and never knew from one page to another where the story was leading.
And I so admire Rubens attitude to housework:
When her oven got too messy or the books overflowed her shelves, she sold up and moved down the road.
And doesn't this holiday sound such fun? :
She was generous, immensely so. When her book Mother Russia made a lot of money, she invited Paul Bailey, Jeremy Trevathan and myself, with her brother Cyril and sister Janet, to stay in a villa in Majorca. We sunbathed all day and played charades into the moonlit small hours.
Just loved this portrait of a precious friendship. Loved its reminder of what really is important in life. Above fame and wealth and recognition - friendship that lasts the course.


Anonymous said...

Bernice Rubens wrote with pencils? Woohoo!

Animah - with abundant supply of 2B pencils and her daughter's Barney sharpener.

Hari said...

"When her oven got too messy or the books overflowed her shelves, she sold up and moved down the road." -- that's the part I love the most - what with me hating housework and all as well!

bibliobibuli said...

Animah - unlike you she probably wrote very quietly with pencils ...

hari - that's me too!