“…make an honest platform of story in your mind, like a raft, using the sound timber of everything you’ve loved and read. As with any raft, it may sometimes feel unsteady: it may falter under the weight it must carry, and, over time, it will need repair. It may not withstand the sea for all eternity but nor does it need to – it needs to last a lifespan, nothing more. For the time that it does hold together, you can stand on it like Robinson Crusoe and look back at the site of your own shipwreck, and you can say to yourself, as he did, grateful for being able to say it, ‘I am here, not there.'”
“The novelist E.M Forster writes: ‘a wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and – by some sad strange irony – it does not bind us children to our parents.’ He imagines the possibilities ‘if we could answer their love not with gratitude but equal love.’ The entrancement, the concern, the intuition of a parent can’t be neatly returned. But I don’t think it’s lost…..
It seems to me that for Forster, we humans stand in a column, loving the child in front of us, who will grow with their back to us and will in time love the child in front of them, who turns their back to love their own, and so on. But is he right? Am I taking the time to write this, I ask myself, with my back to my father?”