Blog Archive

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment