Friday, October 5, 2012

Today (Saturday) I walked in the Wellington Botanic Gardens with my daughter and grandson.

Tomorrow I get on a plane for the Frankfurt Book Fair and a week in Berlin.

These are the words I will take with me, by the immortal Margaret Mahy.
Dance, dance, little old feet!
Spin on your ha'penny of time.
Roar, little old lion
in your meadow of cobwebs and rust
'Til you burn with the fiery power
of the dance and the rhyme
and fall back to the earth
in a sprinkle of golden dust.
Hear Margaret Mahy read the whole poem and others:
The Word Witch: with CD. Photo by Rossi

Forgiving Anne Perry and going to Heaven

Last year I posted some thoughts about the 1954 Hulme-Parker murder and the way it affected me. Some inflammatory comments resulted—because even 58 years later, that teen-age murder still polarises and alarms and infuriates people.

Why? What made me keep carping about Anne Perry's perseverative lying—at least in the privacy of my own mind? For example, claiming that she was an accessory to a murder when she was convicted of murder—planning it, fully participating, doing the deed, holding the brick. Is that my business, really? I was also perseverating and it wasn't healthy.

I had finally managed to forgive myself, I think, for failing to notice a murder was about to happen, failing to prevent the disaster developing under my very nose. (Ludicrous guilt, but that's guilt for you.)

But I still had to find a way of forgiving Anne Perry—in order to get her out of my head. Judging from the comments on my former post, so do some other people.

Yes! Success! A couple of videos combined to flick that rusty old FORGIVE switch in my brain and (touch wood) I have let it go.

In both videos she continues to distort the truth and present the crime as an unfortunate event that just happened by accident, in her periphery, more or less. She is the heroine of her own story: fair enough—aren't we all?

OK, I don't have to believe her highly polished version of events. That's where I draw the line.

Because finally I get it. Anne Perry may be a famous Victorian crime writer but she is not leading the life of Riley. From the outside, it looks like an isolated, sad and struggling life. Perhaps she is still not free.

When I was about eight years old, I had an existential crisis: desperately worried about going to Hell, I consulted a professional—our Dad, then a small town vicar. At bedtime he gave me his considered (and possibly unorthodox) opinion.
  1. He was pretty sure there was no such thing as Hell after death.
  2. If there was an after-death Hell, only very very bad people would be sent there, and certainly not a little girl who had scribbled in a library book.
  3. When pressed hard to define a "very very bad" person, he thought deeply and replied, "Perhaps a murderer who never felt sorry for their crime."
Whereupon I sighed with relief and slept soundly for the first time in, well, hours. 

Anne Perry will go to Heaven: Mormons do. She has doubtless arranged for her victim to go to Heaven too. Perhaps Heaven really will be the magical Fourth World she and Pauline imagined as girls. (Hope not. Eternal harps—enough. Eternal Mario Lanza—spare me.)

Of course she has to lie to herself! What's behind the mask is not my business.

Let us forgive this woman who is doing the best she can, like all of us. And pity her.