The Kitchen Table by Frances Fyfield
Strictly speaking, I think my writing career started round the kitchen table in a three hundred year old house in the north of England.
To set the scene, there was once a small, fat child who was already a bookworm, trying write an essay for school homework with the help of her mother. We were always in the kitchen, as the warmest room in the house: the nearest neighbour was half a mile away.
This child, me, does not wish to write the homework essay. I whine to my mother that the subject is boring. What did you do on your vacation, for instance. We never do anything.
My, (my mother would say,) that’s a fascinating subject, and don’t you know that all subjects are fascinating?. There’s no such thing, (she said,) as a boring subject or a boring person. Turn the subject round, (she said,) and write about the time you rescued the cat from drowning. Or write about someone you like. Write about anything and that interests you and make it fit the title. Just make it have a beginning, a middle and an end and make it exciting, particularly the middle.
What larks! (she said,) dancing round the kitchen, sidestepping the two dogs, the cat with the litter of kitten in a cardboard box by the stove. Just write about it, quickly. Writing is fun,( she said,) you’re lucky to have the chance. Look, you can bring people alive this way, you can say things about people you can never say to their face, nice things and nasty things, just do it. You can bring dead things alive on paper.
My mother made me enjoy writing the school essay, while my father and my teachers made me enjoy reading. For most of my school years, this was our primary entertainment, and for me, it still is.
My adult life has the memories of that kitchen table imprinted on it. I’d love to write a twentieth century history of the kitchen table in all its manifestations; how it has served so many purposes other than the obvious ones. There are so many scenes from books which incorporate the kitchen table. I recall one where a wounded highwayman is bought in for surgery… on the kitchen table. The Kitchen table is for writing and reading, sewing and mending, arguing, laughing, talking, removing splinters from fingers and also for hiding beneath.
I recall a dark afternoon at my parents house, where a teenage poacher pursued by the police through the nearby woods where he’d been hunting pheasants illegally, arrived at the back door in a state of exhaustion and terror, seeking sanctuary. My mother hid him under the kitchen table and my father denied his existence to the cops when they called. My Dad later drove him home, concealed in the back of the car under a rug.
It was the first time I realised that my parents were not like others. It was also the first time I witnessed terror and the importance of compassion above obedience to the law.
My writing life began in that house, which haunts me ever since. Vignettes of it appear in every single of the 22 books I’ve written so far.
It was there I learned the value of stories; the place where I listened to some very tall ones, and learned how to tell them.
I still do much of my research and my writing at the kitchen table, close to the kettle, the fridge, the fire and the first aid kit, listening to the sea outside.
Blood From Stone
by Frances Fyfield
on Tour Nov 25 - Dec 25
Book Details:Genre: Crime Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: 11/26/2013
Number of Pages: 336
Synopsis:Marianne Shearer is at the height of her career, a dauntingly successful barrister, respected by her peers and revered by her clients. So why has she killed herself? Her latest case had again resulted in an acquittal, although the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne’s forceful cross-examination. Had this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her blandly comfortable private life? Her tenacious colleague Peter Friel is determined to find out of that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. The transcript holds intriguing clues, but it is another witness at the trial who holds the key to the truth.
"I grew up in rural Derbyshire, but my adult life has been spent mostly in London, with long intervals in Norfolk and Deal, all inspiring places. I was educated mostly in convent schools; then studied English and went on to qualify as a solicitor, working for what is now the Crown Prosecution Service, thus learning a bit about murder at second hand. Years later, writing became the real vocation, although the law and its ramifications still haunt me and inform many of my novels.
I’m a novelist, short story writer for magazines and radio, sometime Radio 4 contributor, (Front Row, Quote Unquote, Night Waves,) and presenter of Tales from the Stave. When I’m not working (which is as often as possible), I can be found in the nearest junk/charity shop or auction, looking for the kind of paintings which enhance my life. Otherwise, with a bit of luck, I’m relaxing by the sea with a bottle of wine and a friend or two."-Frances Fyfield