Thrown Among the Bones—My Life in Fiction
Ruth Bloch (1942-2021)
for helping me in my quest for Light
and for my loved ones
to whom I bequeath all the Light I discern
Thrown Among the Bones—My Life in Fiction welcomes you into my Workshop and Costumery, providing some backstory to seven novels written during my career as an author, and exploring my quest for ethical light.
The memoir is annotated with extracts from those fictions and other writing. It is an examination of certain seeds that fell upon, and were developed by, my imagination.
It exposes how my life contributes characters, costumes, debates and narrative fibres to create worlds that do not actually exist yet are credible enough to be exploited as venues for posing existential questions. It shows how urban landscapes and wilderness serve as the neon-spangled theatres of my story telling.
A poem opens the memoir:
I go back to 1949
After Sharon Olds
I go back to 1949.
I see them board the ship,
clutching two suitcases and my baby brother.
I see my mother,
with her copies of Petrarch and Giacomo Leopardi,
with her knitting patterns and great winter coat.
I see my father,
with his documents and two photographs—
all that were snatched from Holocaust flames.
I watch them sail down the east coast
and reach Beira, where it is all heat
and where the dockworkers’ songs are sad.
I should say—
Go back to the frescos and stucco.
Go back to the floating golden city
and the Bridge of Sighs.
But I must be born on savannah.
I must be born among musasa and muhobohobo.
I must know the resurrection of dry grass after rain.
Even though they will each die lonely deaths
with nothing, having lost Petrarch and Leopardi,
I will let them board the train
and go ahead into the interior,
for I must be born to the sound of mbira
and know the weeping of diaspora.
“Read this memoir slowly, take time to appreciate the author’s honesty, integrity and the raw courage of sharing so much, so deeply, and with such beauty. Respect!”
“Thrown Among the Bones is richly textured and intimately layered.”
“A fascinating and frequently poignant memoir.”
“Intimately transparent, unwaveringly honest and brutally brave.”
“An unusual, completely fascinating, very moving memoir.”
“An unusual and absorbing memoir. It is a sensory experience, a photo album in words with the emergence of archetypes that are recognisable to each one of us. All have been intricately stitched together to being her multi-coloured life-quilt together. Thoughtful and articulate, Patricia is the mistress of magical realism.”
Comments from characters I've worked with:
“I remember arriving at her theatre door, with my bag full of Shakespeare, having brought the wrong shoes, so she gave me a pair of hers—pink patent with chunky heels. That’s how it was, working with her. We swapped clothes. We ate cake. She was a marvellous director of the preposterous.”
“When I see myself as she writes me, I cry.”
“She turns you away from the most grotesque human behaviour, toward light and stars.”