In the first of an occasional series of places featured in ‘The Novel in the Viola’, here is Durdle Door. Kit imagines taking Elise here and spending an afternoon dawdling in Burt’s boat, The Lugger. Durdle Door separates two beaches — one called ‘Durdle Door Beach’ and the other ‘Man o’ War Bay’.
While writing the book, I used to come down to this beach and picture Elise walking along the shore. The grind of pebbles against the tide is so distinctive — I actually prefer stoney beaches to sandy ones.
Today was spent in the summerhouse (in between baking work-avoidance flapjacks) and Mr S and I read a good bit of Ted Hughes. I just marvel at what Hughes can make language do. He breaks it apart and makes it work in new ways. I love his use of light — my editor once commented that I light each scene as I describe it — this is what inspires me. Light in this poem is dynamic and full of movement.
From ‘The Horses’
‘And came to the horses.
There, still they stood,
But now steaming and glistening under the flow of light,
Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves
Stirring under a thaw while all around them
The frost showed its fires.’