I suppose I am starting to get my brain into drama mode in preparation for my Open University Start Writing Plays course which begins in October. Anyway I was fascinated to read this piece about Arthur Miller in The Times.
I vaguely remember reading somewhere before, probably in an obituary, that Miller had a son with Down's Syndrome. I hadn't, however, realised the whole sad story. Although it was much more common to institutionalise disabled children back in the 1960's and earlier, Miller's disownment of his son and treatment of his wife, who wanted to keep the child at home, do seem rather callous.
His reasoning was that he didn't want his daughter, Rebecca, to grow up with a 'mongoloid' brother. Actually, being a sibling of a disabled child need not be all bad. Sure, some siblings have issues, as do any children. In my experience, however, many siblings grow up to be more mature and empathetic than average and a surprising number of them actually go on to work in caring professions.
But serious sibling issues are also going to be raised in Coming Down the Mountain, a new drama by Mark Haddon , which is due to air on Sunday on BBC1. Although I loved Haddon's novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I don't think I will watch the film, it just might be too close to home for comfort right now.
It is good to read that in fact it was the husband of Rebecca Miller, Daniel Day-Lewis, who may well have been instrumental in Miller's acceptance of his disabled son at the end of his life and that the son in question, also called Daniel, appears to have grown up to have some success and independence in adulthood. One just wonders what he might have achieved with the support of a loving family in his early years.
Three notable things:
1. The scarf I am knitting is growing and growing...
2. Spotting a solitary and rather over-fed magpie sitting on the garden fence and not forgetting to say 'hello Mr Magpie'!
3. A neighbour doing some gardening for us in return for the pristine bike we gave his son whilst clearing out our garage.