Denial Recognition Heat Her thoughts of a frantic husband His memory of the warmth of her body On that long, long ride On that dark, wet night Forced back into some strange normality They are separate, yet linked The bindings of twin souls He knows it, and so does she They are children of the stars From now, for all Eternity
You’ve gone too far this time They say How far is too far I ask them then Is this far enough? And I start covering myself In layers of Not far enough I PILE THEM ON !!! The weight is unbearable Heaviness Claustrophobic So heavy, my knees give, and bowed down towards the ground I give in Completely Is this ok I ask, voice dry and broken? Yes…..this is good Good good girl.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAMES FRASER through Claire’s eyes; as the main narrator she describes him in such fine detail, I know the essence of the man….through Diana’s descriptive prose and my very keen sense of smell, I too could pick him out of a crowded room of men, simply by his smell……a mixture of coffee, whisky, gunpowder, horses and manure, his sweat…..the deep male smell of him. His long graceful bones, the way his mane of copper russet bronze and auburn hair, lifts in stray wisps about his face, because he is either fiercely animated, or like a lions mane, falling around his shoulders in the frenzied passion of love making. The quirk of his mouth, his wry humour, courage, honour and accomplishments. A unique talent for absorbing both people, learning and languages into his life. A man of big passions, ferocious loyalties and all encompassing generosity.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAMIE through Claire’s eyes, until so deeply absorbed in the “more real than life” story, Claire fell away. I was Claire…..living, loving, breathing him in, waiting for him to return from battle, from hunting, from visits with neighbouring Cherokee or working alongside him, and healing him.
AND THEN I FELL IN LOVE AGAIN, through Roger’s eyes. Roger knows Jamie when he arrives at Frasers Ridge….Roger, the “dog with a bone” Historian, has been hearing Claire’s story, researching Jamie’s History…..Culloden, Ardsmuir, Helwater. He has already developed a relationship with Jamie, two hundred years before he meets him (Yes my mind gets tied in knots too)!!! Before Claire leaves Inverness for the second time, Roger finds her fast asleep in the Reverend Wakefield’s Study, clutching the Ardsmuir Prison Records to her breast, her heart….he has a deep affection for Claire, and says to her sleeping figure, and to the long dead Jamie, “I don’t know who you were mate”, he whispered to the unseen Scot, “but you must have been something, to deserve her.”
And then there follows the catastrophic mess, through Lizzie’s mistaking Roger for the monster who has violated Brianna…..we know what follows, and once the two men have come to terms with each other, something beautiful happens.
ROGER AS NARRATOR won me over in a completely new way. He sees Jamie from a very different perspective. There’s understandingly, in the beginning, lingering resentment, but that changes subtly to begin with, as the two men take the measure of each other. I’m often brought to unexpected tears, by Roger’s reference to Jamie as “the big Scot.” Why should that make me cry??? I think it’s the knowledge of how much suffering that big body has gone through….and, for some reason those words are a trigger for tears. Roger refers to Jamie’s “panther like grace”, he wants his approval, and can’t help the jealousy he experiences around Jamie. One vivid description is of Jamie standing back, eyeing Roger dispassionately, as though he were buying a bullock at the saleyards. This comes about when Roger asks him “Teach me to fight.” There’s some brilliantly witty dialogue that follows with Jamie telling Roger he had his first sword at five…..Roger had a toy train with a red engine at the same age. But Roger is equally stubborn, also a man of learning and finally a deal is made. He describes his first experience with “the art of the sword, with Jamie Fraser as his opponent, as like fighting a cloud.” But Jamie develops a strong affection and respect for Roger, and during the Ritualised Ceremony of The Fiery Cross, when Jamie calls out to him, “Come stand by me, Roger Jeremiah, son of my house”, there is a fierce pride and a belonging, a love for his Warrior Father-in-Law.
There is too much to include here. Roger as Narrator, brings James Fraser to life, in vivid detail that naturally is completely different to Claire’s. A man’s observation that also at times is unemotionally clinical in his Historian’s viewpoint of Jamie.
I LOVED JAMIE FRASER EVEN MORE, viewing him through Roger’s descriptive narration.
Returning to this rare gem, just this week. Directed by Alan Rickman, his final Film. Abundantly beautiful, with the extravagant wit and sardonic humour that is at the heart of Alan Rickman’s body of work.
I’ve got this clear image in my mind….it’s really a painting, or a film….but I’m a writer so I’ll have to show it with words.
I’m way, way out in a stormy sea. Huge waves, the kind that used to sink sailing ships, threaten to engulf me….a tiny human clinging to the only piece of flotsam I have ….my IPAD. In this story, the IPad floats, it is impervious to salt water…..even though it’s disconnected from the WorldWideWeb, it keeps working.
I kick feebly with my legs, hold on tight with my left hand, while the fingers on my right, still tap out messages to the world.
THIS IS ALL I HAVE, Then I remember my animals….what happened to them? But they are safe…my dog, my cat, my little hen are riding out the storm perched on my back.
A toddler floats by, clutching an IPhone, Iistening to music and playing games.
Who knows when this storm will end….I’m afraid of drowning, but this sturdy little IPad seems indestructible…..perhaps it will still be receiving messages when I finally tire, and go under.
“Fighting gives y’ a terrible cockstand,” He’d once said when first we wed And now, he clutches me against his young body So full of all the things men feel When going off to war
I open my mouth to his kiss His tongue making love to me Hear the small urgent sounds in his throat Feel his need pressing hard against my belly And in this moment, I could lift his kilt Take him in….hold him, keep him safe From every thing that would take him away from me
But he pulls apart, eyes filled with regret Turns, and at the door, pauses Bows deep, turns again Walks through the door to join his men
And I stand, left bereft Still feeling his need, his heat Now hearing the sickening sounds of war And pray “Dear God above, protect this man I love For I am bound now, heart, soul and body I love hm more than words can say
Ashen faced, laboured breathing I watched him helplessly Beside his bed Saw his vital signs Receding Felt him leaving me watching him Helpless, helplessly And Gathering all the strength I had To offer up to him My mind reached into his Willing, willing him
”Come back my love, come back Stay with me For did you not say You’d never leave me? You would always be here by my side? Don’t go my love, don’t give in” Can barely bear to lay my trembling hands Upon him Afraid he’ll feel my fear So near death, now I hear the steady beating of dark wings Nothing to heal him with now And I the notorious White Lady Useless now, as I stand stricken upon this earth Feeling him….slowly…letting…..go Losing my courage, I am losing everything “Healer, heal thyself” From some place far away these words come to me And a tiny spark of hope and courage
“Jamie, my love, what can I do”? Did I think the words from my mind To his….or perhaps I simply whispered them But he turned his gaze upon me “Claire, I am so very cold…. Touch me.” Then I knew what was needed And tore my shift off hurriedly Lay full length upon his ice cold flesh Reached, reached down to find his heat Held him then, felt the faintest pulse Slowly beating Held him, moved with him My hand, his heart The pulse between us slowly beating My body melting into his One flesh No longer he, nor me One flesh, one huge heart’s pulse Beating, beating His body heat returning That distant inward look receding
He’s turned back from the stars That refuge he was seeking Beneath my body’s heat His great heart beats a steady rhythm Eyes return my gaze I kiss his pale beloved face And death drifts through the open door Leaving us alone once more “Not this time you bastard !!! He’s still mine, dear God Still mine.” And as he succumbs to healing sleep, Arms still wrapped around him, I can finally let go….and weep.”
JAMIE FRASER on the left is full of hope, curiosity, desire, and a firm conviction that Claire will be his. They have just dismounted after that long, wet ride…..”her lovely round arse tucked tight between his thighs.” The warmth of her body still lingers, the smell of her surrounds him….but she is English, a Sassenach, so there is wariness mixed with wanting. She insists on tending his wounds, so he follows her into the Castle, discreetly adjusting his plaid.
JAMIE FRASER on the right is hungry, haggard, full of desperation and despair. Everything he and Claire have worked SO HARD to stop, is coming at them. He is boiling with anger, as minutes before, the Bonnie Prince left him, stating “Today is the day, James.” (Who among us didn’t want to strangle him with our bare hands)? And soon after, at the Standing Stones with Claire; my skin prickles all over as I write the words down, he tells her “My destiny lies on Culloden Moor.” So much grief between them, between us….it flows over. Nothing can contain the loss we feel.
Diana lifts us up, fills us with joy….then plunges us into the abyss. All is lost….or so it seems. Except….it isn’t. I will never tire of this Story……Their Story.
I’ve been standing under a high bright moon, surrounded by the peaceful benevolence of all the half lit, shadowy shapes of the plants ….apart from the huge old Peppercorn Tree, every one of them, planted by me. As I grow older, the garden gets wilder, the birds don’t mind that I’ve not weeded….they thrive on the grasses soon to be seeded. Nothing moves here, but light and shadows, as the warmth of Spring makes everything grow, growing daily towards the sun, resting under the moon when the day is done. Peace on earth. Goodwill towards men. I go to my bed To rest, to sleep To rise again From my big oak bed And go once more Leaving dreams I’ve shed To go Once more To the Day Garden. Circles turning round And round Nothing lost Nothing found Back in my house completely surrounded I’m still cloaked in the comfort Of the plants In the ground The plants that grow Planted by me Beneath the benevolent Old Peppercorn Tree.