Richard Jefferies: The Story Of My Heart
The soul throbs like the sea for a larger life. No thought which I have ever had has satisfied my soul.
Richard Jefferies, The Story Of My Heart
My 2017 painting ‘Lover’s Day, mocked-up as a cover for Richard Jefferies’ The Story Of My Heart. As a typical memoir of a man’s life, it doesn’t work, but it’s not supposed to. Instead, Jefferies – who died young, at the age of 38 – sustains a prolonged rumination over the – for want of a better term – spiritual void that he found could only be addressed by a deep immersion in wild nature. The prose is reminiscent of J.A. Baker’s at his most expressive, but lacks any real thematic structure as Jefferies’ thoughts are blown like leaves in the wind. Some people love the book (Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, allegedly kept two copies by her bedside), others find it frustrating and annoying. Treat it as the prose poem it is and you won’t go far wrong.
Here’s the original painting, probably my favourite of my own landscapes: