WINTER IN ELWOOD

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April Forward Nelson

Last weeks endless rain dampened my resolve to go bike riding, walking and shopping. So I remained, couped up inside and replayed movies, that I knew the end to. Longing for some intellectual stimulation, I sorted through a shelf of books that I had collected over summer from the local bookstore. I picked out ‘Loving Picasso’ written by one of Pablo Picasso’s early lovers Fernandez Olivier. At first I skipped to the section of when she met Picasso but as I read on, the author’s storytelling technique was as unique and creative as the subject she wrote of, so I restarted the book with a heightened interest.

I felt as though, I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen (as the kettle boils) and being seduced into the ill and memorable life of Paris bohemia in the early part of the 20th Century.

It was therefore ‘no stroke of genius’, that when I passed The Grumpy Swimmer Bookstore, and saw that there was to be a Wednesday night lecture on Women Writers, that I would attend…… despite bad weather.

The evening milled together predictably, chairs arrayed with irregularity, polite gestures from each woman to the next and the latecomers. Once every person was settled they waited for the magic trick that would turn this motley crew into a captivated audience.

Dr Aleksondra Hultquist’s reads the beginning of The House of Mirth.

It was a Monday in early September, and he was returning to his work from a hurried dip into the country; but what was Miss Bart doing in town at that season? If she had appeared to be catching a train, he might have inferred that he had come on her in the act of transition between one and another of the country-houses, which disputed her presence after the close of the Newport season; but her desultory air perplexed him. She stood apart from the crowd, letting it drift by her to the platform or the street, and wearing an air of irresolution, which might, as he surmised, be the mask of a very definite purpose. It struck him at once that she was waiting for some one, but he hardly knew why the idea arrested him.

The locals were engaged. For an hour, our little team sailed through stitches and stitches of words, sewn together and realised. This was women’s work and the teachers handiwork, had satisfied its pupils.

I learnt some amazing facts that night; a woman wrote the first novel, and cold winter nights need not be predictable.

 

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