Saturday, January 17, 2009

The death of a most beloved writer - John Mortimer

The death of someone we don't know is a strange, strange thing. That person isn't part of our lives. He isn't 'essential' to our being. We won't mourn with grief unending. Yet, I still feel enormous sadness when that someone is John Mortimer. The tears flow as if I did know him. And maybe I did, a little. We've all heard that Rumpole, dear, dear Horace was very like his creator. I've read and reread the series so much that I feel as if I know Mr Mortimer. I put a picture of him on the blog not too long ago, and it is one I dearly love. But I love this one even more with his daughter, one of my favorite actresses, Emily Mortimer. It is from a piece in The Times.


I don't really have any more words. I just loved him, without knowing him, as perhaps all readers love a favorite writer. May he and P.G. Wodehouse be having a lovely time together in the Heaven that two of my favorite writers now share.

22 comments:

  1. Your testimony on how much John Mortimer touched you is the greatest legacy a writer can leave behind. I love that photo also.

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  2. What a lovely photo of father and daughter...thank you for posting it. I will admit I have not read Rumpole, but I was a devoted fan of the BBC series...that's something, anyway. The photo inspires me to do some research on the author and check a book out of the library. Thanks again Nan for the inspiration.

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  3. I've been thinking of writing a post about John Mortimer. I love his books (no surprise there). I met him once when I went to his house to interview him (his daughter was there too)about a footpath claimed by the Parish Council. He was charming (I was a bit in awe of him)!

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  4. That is the dearest little deer in your header! Love it.

    My favourite Mortimer works are not the Rumpole ones but Paradise Postponed and Titmuss Regained.. I was always amused that he managed to marry two women called Penelope (!) which is quite a feat, I think--and they had to put up with a lot. It's hard to mourn someone who's been so unwell for so long....
    His best epitaph is the simple fact that his plays and books and television work entertained multitudes for a great many years.

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  5. Oh, how sad. I was just noting Mortimer's works on my shelves and thinking I should read his stuff.

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  6. I am sorry to hear this Nan. Don't be too sad. I know how you feel though. When you have read so many of the books you get a real feel for a author.

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  7. What a lovely post about John Mortimer. He was truly a national treasure. There was a documentary about him on the television a few years ago, showing just how adorable he was to everyone. I wish I had taped it and could watch it tonight.
    Violent storms here in the U.K. at the moment. huge gusts of wind that have, I think, blown away my t.v. aerial, I hope I can get it fixed for the inauguration on tuesday, I do so want to see that.
    I love your new heading, they just keep getting better.
    Carole

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  8. To me, he always sort of blended together with Rumpole so that they became the same individual. It is sad to see him so. And Andrew Wyeth on the same day.

    Do you know, Emily Mortimer is a lovely actress and I did not know she was his daughter!

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  9. Nan,
    I feel silly saying this..but I am not familiar at all with John Mortimer. I'm so sorry that one of your favorite authors has passed away. His list of books is impressive! I too really like the photo and him and his daughter.

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  10. Dear Nan,

    I felt this way when Carol Shields died. I just could not fathom that I would never read another book by her. I am with you in your sadness.

    On a lighter note, the deer banner is so delightful!

    love
    laura

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  11. Have you heard any of his Radio work Nan ? It's very enjoyable.
    It's such a shame when someone you care for dies even if you never knew them face to face so to speak..there is something very personal about a good author and their works..friendship isn't the right word but a relationship more intimate than strangers certainly

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  12. I always loved Rumpole. I think of myself increasingly as "She Who Must be Obeyed." It's sad Mr. Mortimer has gone... Your thought about him and P.G. Wodehouse getting together is consoling.

    How did you manage such a nice picture of that deer?

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  13. An agreement in empathy on Mr. Mortimer's passing. I watched the Rumpole series on PBS - it was during one of the best era's of Mystery Theatre.

    Depending where we stand on our timeline in life's journey, it often seems as some of our world shrinks. I felt this deeply at the passing of Paul Newman as well as many others. We are so very blessed with the gifts they left behind.

    And a thought to ponder is passing our legacy of love for those that we care so deeply for to the those younger than us. True, they will have their own timeline to measure - yet, as we now begin to realize, the timelines grow longer and longer and life continues on.

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  14. Nan, I am not familiar with John Mortimer, but he must have been wonderful to have evoked this response in you. When we mourn for an author or musician or celebrity that we did not know in person, I think it is a natural upwelling of emotion. Through music or writing, we have a connection to this individual... and also we mourn the loss - to the world and to humanity, not just to ourselves - of someone who communicated well the human experience.

    hugs,
    Aisling

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  15. I am very touched by each of your comments. You wrote beautifully. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.
    I envy Books Please. And for those who have 'just' seen the televised versions; well they are perfect. Leo McKern is Rumpole. I see him every time I read the books. As with Dorothy L. Sayers and P.G. Wodehouse, I was introduced to Mortimer's Rumpole and his Summer's Lease from viewing them on Public Television (bless it!).

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  16. And thank you for noting the new blog header. I commented on a couple other posts that Tom took it from the laundry room window using the zoom, but still the deer was pretty close. I love that face.

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  17. I thought of you when I heard this news, Nan. You've written a beautiful tribute.

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  18. I didn't know...what a beautiful tribute you have written. He is one of the authors I have always wanted to get around to but for some reason I haven't. I believe I will be making time now.

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  19. Bookpsmith, I can't imagine that being a PGW fan, you wouldn't love Mr Mortimer's books.

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