Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Remind me of Morning Glory

Two things struck me today over my morning coffee. The first is that my life is far duller and more conventional than I ever imagined. The second is that, no matter how extraordinary a character I may create, no matter that a reader puts the book down with a tutted “unbelievable”, there’s always someone out in the real world who has far more claim to be the invention of a fevered mind than anything I can produce.

Today’s Daily Telegraph carried the obituary of one Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart - not, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, her real name (which was the rather less exotic Diane Moore). And her background appears not to be exotic; her upbringing seems pretty straightforward.

Maybe Morning Glory decided one day that her life, like mine, was just a little too dull; or maybe she was always a wild child. Anyway I won’t go into detail (the obituary does it far better than I do) but who could resist the siren lure of the strap line: “a witch who raised unicorns, taught mathemagics and spell-casting, and preached the gospel of ‘polyamory’”?

Morning Glory was married to the man who went on to run “the world’s only registered wizard academy” (Hogwart’s is clearly not registered, unless the Telegraph has got it wrong). His name was Oberon, in real life Tim — although that, as they say, is quite another story but one of which those who think Tims are slightly wimpish and ineffectual might wish to take note. Reading their life together, with its tightly-woven network of complicated relationships, had me shaking my head. No, really? Unicorns? And I’d no idea you can study eclectic shamanism.

I wish I had invented Morning Glory, though I suspect you wouldn’t have believed her if I did, at least unless I recast her into a fantasy, in which case she might have fitted in quite well. Yet I’ve no reason to believe that anything in the obituary is incorrect. Morning Glory, nee Diane, proves that you can be anything you want to be if you have the courage. Goddess, high priestess, published writer — she was all of those.

By the time I’d finished reading I was completely bemused by the enmeshing of real life and fiction, the believable and the unbelievable. Oh, and the plot twists that life furnishes, clearly illustrated by the fact that her first child turned her back on the witching life, changed her name from Rainbow to Gail and went off to live with her father (for literary neatness, I like to see her settling happily in the suburbs).

Fiction stretches credibility in a way that real life doesn’t. I think that’s a pity. And if you ever hear me say I don’t believe anyone would behave like that - remind me of Morning Glory.

1 comment:

  1. Real life characters constantly prove more unbelievable than fiction at times, Jennifer!