December 2, 2016
August 19, 2016
Diary 27th April
I thought I’d mention Rosemary Kenyon Timperley, teacher of English and History, hospital nurse, police canteen assistant, waitress and artist’s model. During the 1950s she worked with the editorial staff at “Reveille” magazine which was very popular with its light entertainment pages and tastefully posed glamour models. She wrote short stories, too, some with a supernatural content, and became a prolific novelist.
Sundial Press have published a (long overdue) collection of her best supernatural stories titled “From Another World”. In the introduction, Ms. Timperley has this to say about the supernatural:
“As a little child I was first consciously introduced to ghosts when my aunt read aloud to me Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Marley’s ghost interested me, but I was unalarmed as I didn’t believe in him. I thought privately that I could invent that sort of thing myself if I had a mind to.
“ For years I regarded ghost stories as fascinating but no more credible than, say, Cinderella or The Little Mermaid—beloved favourites, but one did suspend belief.
Even when I found Walter de la Mare’s The Listeners, fell in love with it, recited it in the bath or to long-suffering human listeners, I still didn’t really believe a word of it.
“ But I always stayed interested in ghosts and, in spite of my scepticism, enjoyed writing ghost stories, pleasantly giving myself the willies and earning some unghostly money at the same time.
“As a teacher, I found that the children loved having ghost stories read to them, and their cries, gasps, shivers and “Cor, Miss ! Smashing ! Read us another!” was fun for everyone.
“This sceptic’s paradise of mine continued until I was over forty, and then something happened. I had a long illness, involv¬ing months in hospital. The drugs I had to take and the claustrophobic, almost witchlike atmosphere of an all-female ward, had an effect on my mind – and I heard Voices.
“No need for details. Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, Emily Bronte, Evelyn Waugh and others have already described this experience to perfection. Indeed, schizophrenia is not such a rare condition. Many people go through it at some time or other when they have been under stress and “escape” from so-called normality. But the point is that, whatever the medical explanation, I really did hear those Voices, which doctors call “auditory hallucinations”. I realised with shock and terror that there were such things as spirits in the air about us, and that I’d been playing ignorantly with ghost-fire for all of my previous life….”
It is a very good collection of stories and reasonably priced for a limited edition. And, frankly, it’s the brilliant work of an author who, when alive, described herself as living “alone in an old-fashioned flat and existing on black coffee, pink gin and cigarettes”.
I heartily agreed with Jim Harrison when he said:
“The simple act of opening a bottle of wine has brought more happiness to the human race than all the collective governments in the history of earth…”
So that’s it. Old lovers reduced to words on a page. All the hope, the promise…the rejection and regret. It’s all there for anyone to see.