Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Green Man a.k.a. Leafy George

It's been a while between blogs because we've had a few visitors to the Burman place recently, which always involves considerably more eating and drinking than usual, on the one hand, but less opportunity and motivation to sit at a keyboard, on the other.  In fact, there's probably a Maths or Physics law to describe the inverse relationship between the two events: as the amount of time and energy spent on eating and drinking increases, so does the amount of time and energy spent on all other activities proportionally decrease - something like that.

Anyway, I was taking 20 minutes away from being a charming and sociable host yesterday, and ended up having an E.M.Forster moment.

I remember reading of E.M.Forster's surprise when he learned that Rooksnest - the house he grew up in, and which he used as the setting for Howards End - had, before the Forsters moved in, been known as Howards for many years.  Instead of creating the name from his imagination, his subconscious had dredged it from forgotten memories (if that isn't a contradiction in terms).

Which is similar to my moment.  In writing The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore, I thought I'd had little connection with or knowledge of The Green Man (also known as Leafy George) prior to researching this motif for the novel in the early noughties.  However, as I was sifting through a box of cards that I'd collected many years ago, which I hadn't properly looked at since emigrating to Australia 21 years ago, I came across a Christmas card with this wonderful image that must have been loitering in a corner of my subconscious all that time.  Handwritten on the back of the card is the following credit: Green Man by Aysha © 1986

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