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Thursday, 23 November 2017


 Continue working on your complete prose poem.    We I’d like to take them all in next week (or please email, them to me, those of you who are sick).    Think of the following points which you need to consider for ALL your writing in whatever form.    It’s always a good idea to try out different approaches.   See how they sound.
·       Are there any words I can cut out?
·       Would it be better from a different point of view?  That is, for example, saying ‘I’ instead of ‘he/she’.
·       Would it be better in a different tense?   Telling it as if it’s all now, in the present tense, for example.
·       Cut the clichés!   I hardly need to mention that.
·       Would it be better in a different tone of voice, for example more casual, slangy,  conversational, speaking to a ‘you’?   Or sarcastic?
·       Do you need to make the sounds of the words imitate the meanings?  Change, ‘I walked across  the lawn’ to ‘I squelched across the lawn’
·       The ‘twist’ at the end can happen in many ways.  Think about what you’ve got the reader to assume in the main part of the piece and then in the last line or so show that really things were quite different.

Below I’ve printed my first draft which I read out to you last week, and then my first rewriting of it.  It's about a former schoolmate who died last month.     The basic problems it deals with are

Liked the guy and yet hated the world we lived in (those private boarding schools)
Haven’t seen him for sixty odd years and didn’t want to
YET remember him so well, especially a moment of joy
A moment of joy, not sorrow, fills my mind at the thought of his death.
What can that mean?   I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.


Hadn’t seen you for sixty odd years.   And didn’t want to, wanting to forget those awful schools,  even though we’d been friends of a kind at both of them, you sliding your semolina over to me next to you at that long dining table, talking about how you’d once sat on Prince Regent, wanting to share a study,  being captain and  me vice-captain of the house cricket team together, practising together.  But you didn’t really matter.  You were still part of all that.  

Except hearing of your death, now,  I keep seeing you, about twelve,  that time when you scored a hundred for the school, that moment on 99,  when you pushed a full toss towards midwicket calling “Yes!” for that 1 more run, with almost singing joy

i. m. RJH (revision 1)

We’re sitting together at that long dining table, and you’re sliding your semolina to me   You’re telling that once you’d sat on Prince Regent.  We shared a study. Your girlfriend was called Ivy.  You looked at me and said,  you know what  you’ve got the measles.  You captain and  me vice-captain of the house cricket team.  Practising together. 

Prepschool, public school: eight years of everyday chapel and lessons and prep.   Your blond confidence. My half admiration half envy.   There.  Them.  When I dropped out I never wrote.  You were part of those places.  You didn’t matter now.   And yet. . .

H, hearing you’re dead, a rich CEO, now, sixty years of silence later, I keep seeing you, at prepschool, that time, that moment,  when you scored the one run you needed for your hundred.  You’re pushing a full toss towards midwicket and calling “Yes!” with an almost singing joy.

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