Blog Archive

Friday, 9 March 2018


Loss of Love for Someone

This could happen in different ways
I used to love you.  Now I don’t  love you.   So what’s happened? 
Have you done something to hurt me? 
Has something happened to change things?
Have I realised you weren’t the person I thought you were?
I’m bored with you?  
Have I realised I didn’t really love you in the first place?
Have I changed my idea of what ‘love’ is?

An I telling myself this because you’ve stopped loving me?

What kind of love is it?
A kind of ‘romantic’ love to do with physical attraction
Love that’s not primarily to do with physical attraction
Love between mother or father and child
Non-sexual love, say between friends
Love of God
One kind of love may, of course, change into another -  for example as married people grow older or ‘grow together’

Write a fictional letter or diary entry in which someone explains how they no longer love someone else.
            Or the ditched one’s letter or diary entry in        response.
How can you make the piece into a whole, that is, with an end which pulls everything together and yet is unexpected?   Not just ‘April fool!’

Friday, 2 March 2018

HANDOUT: Loss of Love Theme 6 A LIE

6  Loss of Love theme: A Lie

Write something about a lie.   It could be a lie you once told, a lie told to you.    Or you might discover a lie someone has been telling.

Why would someone tell a lie?

Is it to protect themselves?

To gain something?

To deceive someone into doing something?

Imagine someone you’ve always admired as a hero or heroine.  After almost a lifetime you discover that their heroism never happened.  They made it up, or it was someone else.  The medal in the little glass cabinet is a fake, or earned really by someone else who happened to have the same name.
Or the lie could be something about your long dead father or mother, or even you.
Maybe it’s something that’s always inspired you, or something that’s made you feel second rate.
They don’t know you’ve found it.  But that’s the reason you’ve invited them for a drink or to supper. 

Now you can confront them with it.  Why did they do it?  What’s their reaction?   Maybe yours is quite different from what you’d expected.

Or maybe you are put in a position where you have to tell someone something which will hurt them very much.   Someone about a relative.   Something about your feelings towards them.  Some way in which you’ve deceived them.  Maybe only you know about it.

You intend to break it to them, because that’s the honest thing to do to keep your relationship with them honest.  But as you talk you find it hard to do so.  Your problem is whether to summon up your determination and tell them the truth, or to save their feelings by telling a lie.

But then imagine that already know, and see how now you are the liar.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Loss of love theme 4

Loss of Lover, Partner, Relative, or Friend

Obviously I wouldn’t want you to write on this if you’ve recently had a loss,  although you might well find it healing even if you don’t show anyone what you’ve written.  But different people have different attitudes.

You can write an entirely fictional piece.  Or write something a little like your  own experience but made into fiction.  One way of treating this subject is simply to give some examples how things were between you when the relationship was good.

Or of course you could focus on the cause of the rift, if there was  an identifiable cause.  
Or you could simply describe the loved person, not just their appearance, but work, interests,  funny incidents.

You could talk about the people, or enter the thoughts of one or the other.   You could have the narrator speaking to the lost loved one in his/her imagination,  or speaking to a trusted friend about him/her. As so often, it’s mention of details that brings things to life.  What a good image of sorrow the photo above is.  Is it possible to ‘say’ it in words?
At the end of the  Tennessee Williams’ play,  The Glass Menagerie,   Tom who has deserted his mentally ill sister, Laura, can’t shake off the memory of her.   When he sees  some glass figures in a shop he remembers her collection of them.

“I descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. . . . I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. . . . I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of colored glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes. Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!”

Friday, 2 February 2018

Loss of Love theme 3

 Loss of Loved     

Activity or Work

How does it come about that you can’t do something any more?   To do with growing up or growing old, being injured,  disqualified, married, being a parent, having to keep up appearances in some way?

How to you describe doing this thing.   Try and describe the activity without telling the reader that it’s no longer possible for you any more.  Make the way you describe it express how you miss it.

To do this you need to focus on the details you remember.   We usually remember details because of love for them (but also from fear, unhappiness as well, alas.

You can write the piece as if it’s about someone else.  Or about something you never did and now it’s too late.

I can imagine, also, a poem in which you make a list of activities missed.   Alternatively, you could reverse the task and write about loved activitities hoped for!                  


Thursday, 25 January 2018

2018 Theme Loss of Love 2

Session 2

Loss of a Loved Place and Time
You may feel a loss of a place you loved as a child for example, or it may be where you went with someone once loved, or no longer alive. Often a place is loved because it holds memories.   Or it could be a home which has literally been ‘lost’ because now belonging to someone else.

Writing about loss almost always I involves memory, but it’s a  good idea not to harp on the  idea of memory too much.  Better to describe what he see in your minds eye still, or when you return to the place.   If a place is loved it is well remembered and so the details will be in your mind still, and if you can express them, then the very sharpness of the detail will express your loss.

For example, in the village in Shropshire where I grew up there was a field (now a park) we visited in which there was a small stream (now gone) and in the stream small fish we used to catch.  We called then ‘red-throats’ and ‘silver-throats’, and they used to hovered under the water, sometimes under weeds there, an then all suddenly dart in the same direction as if they made a smear on the water.  The stream was an outlet from a lake and once my friend Donny looked down at his gumboots in the water and saw a big pike gently floating between them. 

One way of doing this task is simply to pile up memories like that.   When our dog got stomach-ache,   when he was accused to chasing chickens, how he used to pant with eyes closed in the field,  with his tongue like rasher of bacon, and how his long back tooth pushed it up at the side, how his nosed looked to me then like a blackberry, the sound of his claws ripping at the grass when he ran with his ears back.   How the fence of our garden mad a hissing along its whole length when someone climbed over to visit.  How the butterflies twinkled among the cabbages Dad planted.  Mum’s bike with a basket on the front and in which I used put a hedgehog I’d found.

Sometimes you revisit these places and times, either in our minds or dreams, and may feel like our own ghost floating through them.   Or we may actually return,  and then we notice difference.   Or we may feel in some way we are always, ‘there’,  with part of ourselves. 

You could write the piece from the point of view of its local spirit,  from the point of view of a  dream,   or just a story in the past or the present tense.   You might try both past and present and see what effect each has.    Memory is strange because it is both past and present to us now, isn’t it?

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Winter Term 2018 Theme of Loss of Love 1

Theme:  loss of love of Mum or Dad
This does not have to be autobiographical.   It’s very common for author’s to make use of personal experience to portray imagined character’s or imagined loss.    But the theme of loss of love is very common in all kinds of writing, and indeed songs and plays.    My professor at university, the poet   F T Prince, wrote at the end of one of his poems about Richard the Lion Heart:  “but worse than all is loss of love”.   Here  he was thinking of love of his people and friends, I think.  

Of course not everybody thinks love is the most important thing in life.

We all grow up (at least to a certain extent) and lose the kind of ‘cuddly’ love we had as children.   You can write about that.   Sometimes we fall out with our parents, or they with us.   Eventually, of course, they die and we lose their love in that sense, although you could say that in another sense their love remains in us all our loves.   Often writers express loss of love by describing things or places which ‘bring back’ loved ones.  It might be a seaside beach, a certain walk,  an ornament, a song.  Or they may simply describe a memory.   You may recall the old old pop song

These Foolish Things Lyrics

Oh will you never let me be?
Oh will you never set me free?
The ties that bound us are still around us
There’s no escape that I can see
And still those little things remain
That bring me happiness or pain

A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces

An airline ticket to romantic places
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
A tinkling piano in the next apartment
Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant

A fairground's painted swings

These foolish things
Remind me of you
You came, you saw, you conquered me
When you did that to me, I somehow knew that this had to be

The winds of march that make my heart a dancer
A telephone that rings - but who’s to answer?
Oh, how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things
Remind me of you

This sounds like romantic love lost,  but to me captures more general aspects of  loss of love, perhaps of my mother’s now she is dead.   She used to sing this song on stage.    In a strange way the song both reminds me of her loss and yet 'brings her back' at the same time.
I stress that in writing about loss of mother’s or father’s love you don’t necessarily have to talk about yourself.   Nor do you have to mention loss of love in so many words.   Sometimes you hear someone simply talking about what Mum or Dad used to do and you can feel the affection.   And perhaps that’s the most powerful way of conveying love – that is without mentioning ‘love’ at all.  

The lyrics of These Foolish Things sometimes slips into sentimentality, perhaps, but most of the time it seems very effective to me.  We can learn from this lyric how powerful your writing can be if you can pick on the small specific detail,  like the lipstick o the cigarette,  the tinkling piano,  the fairground swings.   I’m just thinking what I’d recall of this class when it finally has to close.  Well:   pigeons still flying from France right into the classroom,  a comment about never having seen her husband’s willy,  glares from a wheel-chair,  hugs from a young visitor,  flying into space in a dream and correcting my spelling mistakes. . . .  Well, I mustn’t go on for fear of seeming to leave out the rest of you.  I realize there are some specifics from all of you.   Later in the course we’ll look at that kind of ‘love’ if ‘love’ isn’t too heavy a word to use.  

But for this weeks ‘homework’ try to think of loss of parental love, either through quarrels or betrayals, or simply through their having died and ‘stayed’ in your memory like those lipstick traces.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Prose Poem Redraft 2

Redrafting Prose Poem 2

I  still can’t get this right because I still can’t find what my feelings are for him, that school friend in schools I hated and yet managed to put on a face and be, on the surface, ‘successful’ in, but as soon as I could, aged sixteen I dropped out.  
I’ve tried to make it more pithy this time

i. m. RJH (revision 2)

At school dinner, you’re sliding your semolina to me   You’d sat on Prince Regent.  We shared a study. Your girlfriend was called Ivy.  You looked at me and told me I’d got the measles.  You captain and  me vice-captain of the house cricket team.  Practising together. 

Prepschool, public school: eight years of termtime everydays -  chapel, lessons, prep, practice, shower, your blond confidence there, then.   Till I dropped out, and you went on, became a rich CEO, and I never wrote.  You’re still twelve years old, pushing that full toss to deep mid-off for your hundred and calling “Yes!” with an almost singing joy.