FOR NEXT TIME
Write something in which a character or narrator thinks about love. It does not have to be sexual love. Nor does it have to be ‘passionate’. It might be something to do with sympathy, compassion, or love of doing something such as football, or fishing or shopping.
Visual Imagery 1: Representation of the loved one/object/activity
Difficult to deal with obvious sexual/gender characteristics without tending to pornography. ‘Noticing the lump in his swimming shorts, she. . . ‘ Physical characteristics which the person notices – the dimple, the scratch on the arm, the bit missed when shaving, the way of standing, the habitual gesture. Sometimes it may be better in fact to have his/her beauty mentioned by someone, and shown in the reactions, rather than attempting to describe it.
Reactions to beauty can also be done by visual imagery, but need to be subtle - no ‘gazing’ let alone dribbling or trembling.
Often you can express the person’s love – all kinds of love – by their perception of detail, or ability to foresee what will happen next. With love of an activity, it’s the way it’s described, showing familiarity, that evokes the feeling for it.
Love of a child has its own traps of sentimentality.
Need to be careful with wider kinds of love, such as compassion for victims of concentration camps, the trenches, cruelty. The imagery needs to be authentic. Can be done through research, but very difficult.
Visual Imagery 2: Associations
Metaphorical images that come to mind when the loved one is not present, may ‘jump into the mind’, or the lover may start noticing how green the grass has become these days. Metaphors may also take up some characteristic of the loved one - the wide calm sea, the willow tree in a storm, the plaintive call of the plover. Or you can use dream imagery either for the experience of sexual love, or as a dream in which he/she appears in some paradise-like garden
Obsessive love can throw up outlandish imagery – devils, angels, and so on – which have their own danger from the point of view of cliché. See Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Doll’
Again think about associations, how what one person says suggests what the other says although at first sign it might seem like changing the subject. Sometimes an understanding between people can be shown through their having the same associations, the same way of thinking about something, or of course through humour. If she likes you she laughs as your jokes.
The body language accompanying the dialogue can also show rapport.
Smooth, rough, lumpy, gritty, wet, damp, dry, sandpapery, glutinous. Or you could focus on the texture of clothes such as a jacket touched to get past, a broach caught in a sleeve, gloves he/she’s asked to hold. Touch also important in love of activities such as a sport, the feel of the ball, the boots being slid on, the studs on mown grass.
Try not to make high heels ‘click’. Refer to personal experience for ecstatic bedroom screams, cries, evocations of God. Can, of course, be treated humorously (the decective under the bed) Sound imagery can also be used in the associational way referred to under visual imagery. Sound may be important in non-sexual/personal kinds of love, the crowed at the match, the whistle. Or gardener’s squelches and diggings
Particular sounds may be associated with the loved person, the child dragging the toy along the pavement, the mother’s rhythmical chopping in the kitchen, actually heard, and imagined.
1 Love in absence. The narrator or main character is missing someone, or somewhere, or realising how much they miss them/it. This missed person may be a lover, not-yet lover, children, friend, relative. The missed place may be recent, from childhood, imaginary. Don’t actually say ‘she/he missed him/her/it. The sense of missing must emerge from the thoughts
of the narrator/character.
2 Love of an activity. Describe someone engrossed in something they love doing, and know every inch of.
3 Love of an object, its touch, shape, associations, beauty. Could be a person’s body, of course.
4 Doing something from an impulse of love: a sacrifice of some kind, going on a march, speaking out when it take courage or is a risk, standing aside for the partner’s lover, the introverted character tackling the mugger/burglar
5 A passionate bedroom scene from the point of view of the hired detective who is hidden in the wardrobe looking through a spyhole