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Thursday, 21 November 2013


A letter or song or poem or monologue in the second person, a conversation about the person.  This could be an imaginary letter to someone you (the narrator) misses.   The missed person could be alive or dead.  The pieces should speak to them about how they are missed.  Difficult to avoid sentimentality and yet sustain strong feeling.   In writing to a person in this way you have to be careful not to say the obvious.  If you are remembering habits, gestures, favourites,   the comments have to be focused on the affection the speaker, but without going on and on about how sad they are.  You have to avoid seeming to tell the person things about themselves they would already know.   This is in part a matter of finding the authentic detail.

The person may be unforgettable for different reasons.   It may be to someone you wish you could forget but keeps looming up in dreams, or half recognized in a crowd:  perhaps a cruel figure from childhood or your time in prison, school, former marriage, illness, a bad time in the past with someone you still love but you still can’t forget t;  it may be about someone whom you have harmed,   a matter of guilt,  someone who perhaps can’t forgive you (perhaps they have ‘got it all wrong’), or is now dead.   Or indeed someone you don’t know:  the child on the Pathé newsreel of Belsen when you were eight, 

Thomas Hardy

WOMAN much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever consigned to existlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward
And the woman calling.

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