Dear George: Heavy Weather
Heavy Weather, a story in the Dear George collection,
she takes what appear to be very ordinary situations and reveals
fresh insights. Where romantic writers or novelists like Jane
Austen might end their stories at a wedding, Helen Simpson concentrates
on a time in family life which in the past was considered too
dull to write about...
a very unusual time when have you very small children,
you're in a state of fatigue and very heightened intensity.
And I'm not surprised it's not been written about before
because its almost impossible to notice at the same time
as it's happening and also up 'til recently it was thought
of as boring. It's a young family on holiday and they
have a babe in arms and a 2 year old daughter and they
are both extremely tired and I suppose it reflects the
extremes of emotion, the protectiveness. Then they go
down to the beach and the woman looks out to sea and you
have some sense of looking out to a horizon and thinking
yes, things might be different in future, and then looking
in close but this is where we are. It's not exactly a
dramatic story but all I know is that people seem to like
don't choose a theme before I start writing, it's just
whatever happens to interest me at the time. And I've
done 3 story collections now, each has taken about 5 years.
And I just notice the first one now I couldn't write,
that was just me then, that was what I was interested
Before she'd even had a baby herself, but when she was in fact
pregnant, Simpson was able to write so convincingly about giving
birth to a child that many women wrote to her congratulating
her on the accuracy of her description. She wrote about childbirth
in a story called "Labour" published in her first collection
of short stories in 1990. The collection Four Bare Legs In
A Bed won her several awards.
In 1993, at the age of 34, she was named as one of the 20 Best
Young British novelists, although she hasn't yet written a novel.
In 1995 Dear George, her second volume of stories, was
Four Bare Legs in A Bed (1990), Minerva
Dear George (1995), Minerva
Hey, Yeah, Right, Get A Life (2000),Virage