November 10, 2010

Writing, not closure

As recounted in the Wall Street Journal in The Lady and the Playwright, when Lady Antonia Fraser met Harold Pinter, she said

"Wonderful play, marvelous acting," she told Pinter. "Now I'm off."


"He looked at me with those amazing, extremely bright black eyes. 'Must you go?' he said. I thought of home, my lift, taking the children to school the next morning . . . my projected biography of King Charles II. 'No, it's not absolutely essential.'"


So began a 33-year marriage of true minds that ended with Pinter's death from cancer on Christmas Eve in 2008, at the age of 78.

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An inveterate journal-keeper for more than 40 years, Lady Antonia began work on "Must You Go" a month after Pinter died. "I never intended to publish it. It wasn't written for that reason," she said, drinking coffee in the lobby alcove of her midtown hotel after an early morning swim.

--

"The whole thing, including the title, came into my head like that. It was an act of love and remembrance, really, a book of celebration at a time of such tremendous grief," continued Lady Antonia, 78, who has a posh, creamy voice you must sometimes bend close to hear and who has a manner that is equal parts grand and grandmotherly. "It was a very surprising thing for me to do because I'm not a very candid person, and I don't believe I would or could write it now. It was the effect of grief."

She doesn't think much of closure.

Closure? She recoils at the word and the notion. "Thank you very much. No closure," she said tartly. "I don't want closure in stopping mourning. I don't want it to stop. But it is the oddest thing when something happens and I think 'I must tell Harold.'


"And I can't."



"Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter" (Antonia Fraser)

Posted by Jill Fallon at November 10, 2010 7:53 PM | Permalink