13 February 2020
Posted by Hazel Orriss
Dusty sang mournfully about the look of it and Beyoncé is crazy in it. The Bee Gees sought to measure the depth of it and Gloria Jones sang of a tainted variety. It is in the air. It is all around us. It is all you need…
If love is so ubiquitous, either by its absence or in its exhausting and all-consuming presence, then why do we devote so many words to it? From pop songs to sonnets, Mills & Boon, Hallmark cards and romantic movies, we are insatiable. Or are we? Are the So:Write women a jaded bunch? Lucky at cards, unlucky in love, perhaps? I prefer to believe that we simply bring a wealth of life experience, age, wisdom and youthful effervescence to the table. We have lived, loved, lost and lived to love another day. This accumulation of love is worth its weight in gold and, when we dig down into the emotion, we generate so many ideas. Romantic love is merely the beginning and rarely the end. Platonic love, unrequited love, obsessive love, unconditional love, self-love, cupboard love… Objectophillia, anyone? The gift of a heart… no, I mean a real one; a lovingly wrapped ovine heart complete with ventricles. As love tokens go, you have to agree, this was unconventional.
Try this writing exercise, and see if you come up with anything surprising. Begin by listing things associated with love. Be as obvious, or as obscure as you wish. Then look for opposites to the items on your list. For example, if you included roses, then the opposite could be… cabbages? The heart-shaped box of chocolates, or the jar of dried kidney beans? Diamonds or shards of broken glass? See what ideas can be sparked by the juxtaposition of these contrasting ideas, the results can be surprising! It’s an idea that Carol Ann Duffy explores in her poem Valentine; an onion as a symbol of hope, power, passion, and the promise of something unforgettable, deadly (or maybe even both).
Some books and poems about love (not always happy, occasionally tragic)*
Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy
Flowers by Wendy Cope
This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Possession by A.S. Byatt
*Books being far better than valentine cards, of course.
The Write Time Writers Connection Cafe 6-8pm on Tuesday evenings at God’s House Tower. Free to attend.
Writers Day at GHT A day of workshops, panel talks, performance and discussion for writers at all stages and levels of ability, featuring Susmita Bhattacharya, Claire Fuller and Judith Heneghan Sat 7th Mar 2020, 11:00am - 10:00pm Book your tickets here.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash