Sara Maitland was the guest speaker at our Readers Retreat yesterday. I'd met her once before in the late 70's - my memory tells me it might have been at Silver Moon Bookshop in Charing Cross Road. Also present then were Zoe Fairbairns, Michelene Wandor and Michele Roberts. They were reading from and talking about Tales my Mother Told Me. They were starting to change my life.
Being with Sara yesterday was a deeply emotional experience for me. I had two fixed points, then and now, to reflect upon. Emily said she would have liked to know me then, but she wouldn't have been born, and I like me better now, though I look back at that very young woman - wife and mother - with kind affection.
Sara spoke passionately, intelligently, humorously, wildly. We conversed in the group about short stories, fairy stories, silence, politics, all with a bedrock of feminism. She read to us from Gossip from the Forest and we spoke of danger, darkness, forgiveness, love.
In the evening we sat for longer at the table, enjoying being at home together, here - at The Bookshop.