Kiss and Part


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What does it mean to 'kiss and part'? This collection of previously unpublished short stories from a stellar list of contemporary women novelists is a literary celebration of the spirit of place. All royalties go the Hosking Houses Trust to further encourage women’s writing.



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Published 29 March 2018
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EAN13 9781786221940
Language English

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Kiss and Part
© The Contributors 2019 Spacer motif drawn by Sarah Hosking Commissioned and conducted by the Hosking Houses Trust and edited by George Miller First published in 2019 by the Canterbury Press Norwich Editorial office 3rd Floor, Invicta House 108–114 Golden Lane London EC1Y 0TG, UK Canterbury Press is an imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd (a registered charity)
Hymns Ancient & Modern® is a registered trademark of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd 13A Hellesdon Park Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR6 5DR, UK All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, Canterbury Press. The Authors have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the Author of this Work Acknowledgement is made for permission to use extracts from T. S. Eliot, ‘Little Gidding’, inFour Quartets, Faber & Faber, 1941. Page xii portrait: British School,Michael Drayton, 1628, oil on canvas, 54.5 × 41.0cm, DPG 430, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. Used by permission. British Library Cataloguing in Publication data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 978 1 78622 192 6 Typeset by Regent Typesetting Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd
The Writers Preface ‘Kiss and Part’ by Michael Drayton Introduction by Margaret Drabble
Buck Moon –Marina Warner ‘A Merrie Meeting’ –Salley Vickers The Incumbent –Elizabeth Speller ‘Colossal Wreck’ –Maria McCann The Visitation –Maggie Gee And the River Flows On –Joan Bakewell The Creature –Jill Dawson The Turn –Catherine Fox The Fabric of Things –Jo Baker ‘Place of Dreams’ –Lucy Durneen
Afterword by Sarah Hosking
The Writers
Dame Margaret Drabble(Lady Holroyd) is a novelist, biographer and critic. She has published nineteen novels, biographies and stories and a personal memoir. Her non-fiction includesA Writer’s Britain: Landscape and Literaturethe and Oxford Companion to English Literature. Among many awards and honours, in 2011 she was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for ‘A Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature’.
Marina Warneris Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, London. She is a writer of fiction and cultural history, especially on myths and fairy tales. Her books includeStranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights(2012) andForms of Enchantment: Writing on Art and Artists(2018). She gave the Reith Lectures in 1994, was made a DBE and awarded the Holberg Prize in 2015, and is president of the Royal Society of Literature. She has been a patron of Hosking Houses Trust since 2006.
Salley Vickers’ début novel wasMiss Garnet’s Angel (2000). She has since written many other acclaimed novels including her latest, theSunday Timesbest-sellerThe Librarian(2018). A well-known critic and reviewer and frequent guest of the BBC, she lectures widely on the connections between literature, psychology and religion. She was formerly a university teacher of English and a psychoanalyst. She now writes full-time.
Elizabeth Spelleris a poet and writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her first novelThe Return of Captain Emmetwas published by Virago and was Orange Book of the Month in 2009. She is currently completing her fourth novel for Virago and, as a poet, was short-listed for the Forward Prize. Her non-fiction includesFollowingHadrianand a family memoir. She teaches creative writing at Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education.
Maria McCannis a historical novelist and short story writer based in Somerset. Her first bookAs Meat Loves Saltwas published in 2001 and was anEconomistBook of the Year; her second,The Wilding, was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her most recent novel isAce, King, Knave(2014).
Professor Maggie Gee OBE has published fifteen books including a collection of short stories,The Blue, and a writer’s memoir,My Animal Life. Her novelThe White Family was short-listed for two global prizes and she is translated into fourteen languages. In 2012 the University of St Andrews held an international conference about her work. Her thirteenth novel, a black comedy,Blood was one of the Sunday Times’ Best Literary Novels of 2019.
Dame Joan Bakewell(Baroness Bakewell, a Labour peer) presented the ground-breaking television discussionsLate Night Line-UpandHeart of the Matterin the 1960/1970s, and has worked consistently as a gifted broadcaster, author and journalist ever since. Most recently, she has presented seven television series of Sky ArtsArtist of the Yearand a BBC Radio 4 programmeWe Need to Talk about Death.
Jill Dawsonis a novelist and poet who won the British Council Writing Fellowship at Amherst College in 1997. She has published over ten novels and edited several anthologies. She has been short-listed for both the Whitbread and Orange prizes, won three Arts Council England awards, and won the East Anglian Book of the Year in 2016 forThe Crime Writer.
Dr Catherine Foxa senior lecturer in Creative Writing in the Department of English at Manchester is Metropolitan University. She is the author of seven novels that explore the themes of the spiritual and the physical with insight and humour, as well as a memoir about her quest to become a judo black belt. Her novels include the Lindchester Chronicles:Acts and Omissions,Unseen Things Above andRealms of Glory.
Jo Bakeris the author of seven novels, of whichACountry Road, A Tree(2017) was short-listed for the James Tait Black and Walter Scott awards, and was a Guardian Book of the Year. Her novelLongbourn (2013) is in development as a feature film and her most recent novel isThe Body LiesShe has (2019). written short stories for Radio 4 and reviews for theNew York Times Book Review.
Lucy Durneena newly established writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her first short story is collectionWild Gesturespublished in 2017 and won Best Short Story Collection at the Saboteur was Awards that year. Her non-fiction has been adapted for broadcast on Radio 4, and her work was included inBest American Essays 2017. She teaches at Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education.
Sarah Hoskingis the founder/secretary of Hosking Houses Trust, and commissionedKiss and Part. Her background is in the visual arts (art college in the 1960s), and she worked for some years in government arts subsidy. She then worked for the NHS as an interior and garden designer, and co-authoredHealing the Hospital Environment(1999), which dealt with non-clinical aspects of in-patient care. She founded HHT on her retirement in 2000.
The Hosking Houses Trust is a small charity that exists to give older women writers of merit personal time, privacy and money with which to start, continue or complete innovative work on any subject whatsoever. It was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s 1928 polemicARoom of One’s Own, in which she famously said: ‘A woman needs money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.’ To this we have added: ‘if she is to write anything at all’, and we have been operative since 2002. We are based in Clifford Chambers, a village two miles from Stratford-upon-Avon with its theatres, libraries and cultural enterprises. We own the tiny eighteenth-century Church Cottage, which is adjacent to the church and its burial yard, and near the River Stour. This is where our incumbent writers stay, and to date we have hosted one hundred residents, including poets and performance artists, novelists and musicologists, historians of film and gardens, medicine and markets, social historians and journalists, playwrights and hat-makers. We are currently seeking to expand and welcome women artists who work with words and letters, and composers involved with sound and words. We exist entirely on money raised by the charity and, over the years, have made over 3,000 applications and appeals resulting in many failures but enough successes on which to operate. Our constitution includes the sentence: Trustees may do all such lawful things as are necessary for the achievement of their objects.This facilitation encouraged us in 2013 to commission and publish a study of our immediate area, the church and river and accumulation of humble houses and utilised land, including accounts of the two artists associated with the village, Tibor Reich the twentieth-century designer and Michael Drayton the Tudor poet. The resulting bookRound the Square and Up the Tower: Clifford Chambers, Warwickshirewas sufficiently successful for us then to commission this anthology of stories, once again centred in this small part of our village and again involving these two creative people, for no other reason than we want to echo ‘I like this place, and willingly could waste my time in it.’ William Shakespeare, Celia,As You Like It, 2.6.93–4 Commissioned and conducted by the Hosking Houses Trust and edited by George Miller Trustees of the Hosking Houses Trust Any similarity between the characters in the stories and people in the village of Clifford Chambers is entirely co-incidental. This anthology has been supported by the Skoyles Bursaries Fund, donated by the Foyle Foundation.
British School,Michael Drayton, 1628, oil on canvas, 54.5 × 41.0cm, DPG 430, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.
Kiss and Part
Michael Drayton
Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part, Nay, I have done: you get no more of me, And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart, That thus so cleanly, I myself can free. Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows; And when we meet at any time again, Be it not seen in either of our brows, That we one jot of former love retain. Now at the last gasp of love’s latest breath, When, his pulse failing, passion speechless lies, When faith is kneeling by his bed of death, And innocence is closing up his eyes, Now, if thou would’st, when all have given him over, From death to life, thou mightest him yet recover. The 61st poem in a sonnet sequence entitledIdea’s Mirror, published in 1594.
by Margaret Drabble
The Hosking Houses Trust and this ancillary volume of stories are both the creations of Sarah Hosking, who lives in a little house in a little village near the River Stour, surrounded by cats, dogs and hens and books and paintings and a garden. The Trust is a visionary project which offers older women a writing space, with financial support from bursaries. Hosking has taken literally Virginia Woolf’s declaration: ‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’, and made it one of her missions. And she has not rested there. She has devoted more than two decades, and much energy, to fund-raising and administration. She has turned Clifford Chambers into a unique creative centre, welcoming women from all over the country. Many of them have found the experience of staying in Church Cottage inspirational, as these stories show. Two years ago, Hosking conceived the idea of commissioning ten women writers, some of whom had spent residencies in Church Cottage and some of whom were especially selected, and asked each of them to write a short story prompted by Michael Drayton’s celebrated sonnet ‘Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part’. Drayton’s connection to the neighbourhood is explored in several of these tales, sometimes playfully – Salley Vickers in ‘A Merrie Meeting’ paints a lively and sardonic picture of Drayton’s jealousy of his contemporary Shakespeare (ragbag plays, contempt for the poetics, theft of ideas and story lines, and a ridiculously successful Bohemian bear) and his one-sided relationship with his ageing muse, Lady Anne Rainsford of Clifford Manor, who no longer fits comfortably into her farthingale and avoids the low neckline of her cerise gown in favour of the more flattering sea-green. Maggie Gee chooses a contemporary setting (with an accompaniment of heavy and threatening traffic) for her ambitious rendering in sonnet form of a story of unrequited love, ‘The Visitation’, but plays close attention to Drayton’s sonnet, weaving it skilfully into her own verse narrative. Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Jonson hover behind most of these texts, occasionally interjecting comments in their own words. Other artistic spirits inform the volume. Tibor Reich, the Hungarian-born textile designer who settled in Clifford Mill on the Stour in 1945 in flight from the Nazis, also provides a strong linking presence. One of Hosking’s achievements has been to bring a whole neighbourhood, historical and actual, to new life, through community research and local initiatives, including her beautifully illustrated and eclectic 2013 volumeAround the Square and Up the Tower: Clifford Chambers, Warwickshire, which tells the story of the church, the square and the village. She has given her commissioned novelists a good deal of suggestive recovered material to work with, and they have made good use of it. The narrator of Marina Warner’s ecological ghost story about a wounded fawn, ‘Buck Moon’, is a scholar interested in modern design and Tibor Reich, whose vision, she says, ‘defined the look of the Festival of Britain and other proud breakthroughs of happier times’, and she evokes in some detail his workplace at the mill, his craft and his attachment to the river. Reich’s mill and his ‘daydreams’ also appear in Jo Baker’s ‘The Fabric of Things’, an erotic adventure of wakening sexuality featuring two very different young women, who swim, scandalously, naked in the river: ‘Soup, your mother says; filthy, full of germs; but no, it’s misted, fresh, cleaner than a bath.’ It’s not surprising that several of these tales are ghost stories. Church Cottage adjoins the graveyard of St Helen’s church, and for some of the fictitious writers-in-residence the graves are a little too close for comfort. The protagonist of Maria McCann’s very funny ‘Colossal Wreck’ is a successful romantic novelist, the unfortunately named Jane Doe, who is in retreat and suffering from writer’s block: inconveniently, she has a vivid horror of tombstones, cadavers, tumbling bones and death itself, and the peace and privacy of the cottage (into which Miss Hosking in person ushers her) prove a very mixed blessing. The cast of Elizabeth Speller’s ‘The Incumbent’, with its satiric survey of the contemporary village life of B&B and Airbnb, includes a prosaic local resident, Margaret, the organiser of the village reading group, who does not like to think of ‘the rows of skeletons that lie, albeit neatly, just beneath the surface’. Margaret, who is keen on neatness, finds the incumbent herself (tall, barefoot, androgynous and beautiful) unsettling; she is a mysterious figure, shape-shifting and miracle-performing. Jill Dawson’s ‘The Creature’ offers a vivid portrait of a cottage interior with its log fire and red tiles and flowered