Even the birds are re-cycling! This nest has been created from pieces of plant material, interwoven with a strand of plastic from a white polypropylene sack, plus part of a compost bag – which, in turn, is making its own re-cycling journey. Inside, the ‘floor’ is made from mud whose smooth finish would be the envy of many a plasterer. Needless to say, the nest was empty when I found it – the stone ‘egg’ is just to show the depth of the interior.
Writers are recyclers too, selecting from the detritus of their lives those events which stirred – or not – and which they re-create mutatis mutandi in story form. I have heard writers express the fear that their family might be upset at seeing themselves thus ‘recycled’. As Dickens found, no one recognises their portrait in novel form, presumably for the same reason we are blind to our faults and prejudices.
My mother once asked me which character in Philippa’s Farm was her. I thought for a moment or two, wondering whether she would be offended when I told her there were parts of her everywhere, as there were parts of herself in me, the writer. I chanced it. She was pleased. ‘I’m glad you got something from me,’ she said.