My fiction is a highly subjective re-creation of a younger me – acted out by the side of the river Thames, where I used to spend a lot of time. Here’s how I’m making the work:
- Susan and I go down to the river for another shoot. She stands around without complaint in the freezing cold, dressed in a selection from my wardrobe, while I set up the picture. We work in companionable silence, steadfastly ignoring the curious looks from joggers and dog-walkers.
- We’ve had our near disasters and disasters. The worst was before Christmas when Susan went over in the mud on a slipway and fractured her arm. I was mortified, but as soon as it was all healed up she was back working with me.
- The river itself seldom disappoints. The light shifts from one moment to another as the sun rises and I gasp with delight. I’m trying to do justice to the light at least but can never reproduce the ducks’ splash-landings, the lap of oars in the water or the creak of swans’ wings beating in improbably flight.
- Every so often it all comes together: the light, the angle, Susan’s pose, her outfit, the distance. And suddenly the younger me materialises – plucky, nervous, unhappy, bathing herself in the healing beauty of the river.