It is quite instructive looking back at old computer files from a novel in progress. It’s a bit like baby photos – oh, I never imagined it would grow up like that! Today, I went back into a file from 2008, which is when – apparently – I first started writing the book that is now ‘Sex, Lies and Bonsai’. Only four years… nothing in the scheme of things.
In the finished version the protagonist, Edie, recites a short poem titled ‘Three deer and a sheep’. This poem started life as a short story, which became shorter and shorter then morphed into verse. It was inspired by a deer hunter I met in New Zealand who shared his recipe for deer sausages with me – add one sheep for every three deer.
I thought I’d share a little of the story here, and if you’d like to see the finished version, you can read the book preview here. The story is written from two points of view – a single mother and a deer hunter.
Three deer and a sheep
It rains a lot in Glenorchy. The clouds descend over the mountains bringing with them a damp chill. But today – today, the fog lifts. I step onto the veranda and the mountain tops are covered in a dusting of snow. The sun shines through gaps in the clouds and for the first time since I got off the bus, I have a feeling that things might work out.
But then I see the deer.
It is lying on my veranda with its neck twisted at an unnatural angle. I step closer, not breathing. Blood seeps from a wound in its chest. I look around quickly, but there is no-one there. Then I see the tire tracks leading down my driveway, disappearing into the morning mist.
Someone came early this morning and dumped this dead deer on my veranda. But why? Is it a threat?
I’d had a good night’s hunting. Almost got swept away in the river though. Had to open the doors as I drove through to let it run through the car or it would have taken me with it.
I felt sorry for her, a woman on her own. Thought she could use a bit of meat. She looked pale. The kids did too. There’s a lot of iron in venison. If the kids don’t like venison she can make it into sausages. It’s a bit lean though, deer. For the best sausages, you really need to add a sheep. That’s the go. Three deer and a sheep…
And there is so much more where this came from…