March 2014 Club

The SHOCK of the FALL

Have you ever thought how one event, one moment can change the course of your life? Nathan Filer's debut novel examines how Matthew Homes - let's assume that's his name - lost his brother, Simon one fateful night whilst on a caravan holiday near Chesil Beach in Dorset.

Simon was a couple of years older than Matt and was a child with Down Syndrome. His sunny disposition shines from the pages and when he dies, the reader can feel the gap where he once fitted as much as the family can.

Matt's relationship with his mother is complicated. When Simon was alive, he really had to be the focus of attention. When he dies, she almost smothers Matt, afraid to let him out of her sight, home-schooling him for a whole year.

Throughout his teen years, Matt descends into a spiral of guilt and grief and eventually ends up in a psychiatric ward suffering with schizophrenia.

His Nanny Noo gives him a typewriter and that's when he begins to write his story. It's a cathartic exercise for him, but he becomes so obsessed with it, he decides against taking his meds.

Being a former mental health nurse, Nathan Filer offers insightful glimpses into grief and schizophrenia, making connections between life events and the downward spiral into the condition, and how it affects the patient or "Service User" and their family. He also poignantly demonstrates the repercussions relating to funding issues for mental health services.

Personally, I loved the thought connection about Simon's atoms being everywhere and in everything. And the observations about grief - looking for glimpses and signs of the deceased loved one in everything and the need to hold some kind of ceremony to gain closure.

Not the easiest read - at times I felt as if I was actually in Matt's head due to the clever writing - but certainly one worth reading.

Colourway inspiration

The colour which was most dominant throughout this book was, in fact, yellow. From Simon's yellow comfort blanket to Matt's yellow pills. However, I know that not all of you share my passion for yellow, so I had to get a bit more creative and went for a slightly different theme.

A Colour with a Personality

For the semi-solid colourway, I chose the part where the mother decides to redecorate Simon's room several years after he's passed away. At first she goes for a rich, warm terracotta shade, but then changes her mind to magnolia when she realises that visitors might question her about the colour and she doesn't want it to be a topic of conversation. She didn't want a paint colour with personality. I thought terracotta itself was a little too early 90s, so opted for a mixture of pink, orange and brown which has produced a vintage shade of not-quite-red-not-quite-pink-not-quite-orange.

Cloth Doll

For the variegated colourway, I took inspiration from the small cloth doll buried by Annabelle. She had "a smudged pink face, brown woollen hair, and eyes made of shining black buttons" along with a bright yellow raincoat with a black plastic buckle. And Annabelle herself has red hair, freckles and a cream dress.
So I randomly hand-painted some high twist Entwine in blush pink, persimmon, tangerine, apricot, pale pink, coral, yellow and in some skeins, the brown and the deep grey (rather than black) show up more than in others.

Due to the nature of the dyeing process, there is considerable variation between skeins.