Time (and the mother of all inventions)

Happy Mothers Day.

I had a peculiar experience during the casting of my radio play Come to Grief, which was an adaptation of a stage play I wrote during a residency at the National Theatre Studio twenty years ago.

At the time of the original production I identified with the character of the daughter, who was roughly my age. During discussions about casting for the radio version, I found myself thinking that actors the director suggested for the character of the mother were far too young for the role – he was considering actors the same age as me but I was the daughter’s generation, wasn’t I?

Twenty years ago, perhaps, but not any more…

This experience brought home to me the ongoingness of the living, writing self compared to the written self, which is finite – contained within the boundaries of character. We all turn into our parents apparently, and it seems I have already become my mother – the mother of my own invention, perhaps – but maybe that’s all any of us are to each other. Famously, the American novelist Austin Wright’s last words to his daughter on his deathbed were ‘You. Are. Invented.’

BBC i-player countdown: there are 12 days left to listen to my radio play here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04980dx

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