Thursday, 10 April 2014


Like most angst-ridden sixteen to twenty-somethings, I wrote poetry.  Some of it was drivel, and some of it was agonisingly heartfelt, and some pieces had an elegant turn of phrase, but mostly - let's be honest - my poetry wasn't very good. Interestingly, I still have most of it. I've kept the little journal wherein I poured out the troubles of my heart.

(Although I can't put my hands on it right now; and that's a problem. So there's no photograph.  Arghhh. I'm losing my mind.) 

In the novel I'm cobbling together right now the female character - her name is Helen - writes poetry. Helen is dark-haired and dark-eyed, and has big breasts. And she's a strong woman. Helen's a good name for a strong woman, don't you think? Anyway, for better or worse, I've put some of her poetry in. I wanted to use it to illustrate how distressed she is by the break-up with her husband. She writes him a poem, you see. An angst-ridden poem.

Have you guessed what's coming? 

Yes, I've used the poetry I wrote when I was sixteen. Eighteen, actually. But who's counting?

When I passed it around my writing group I was waiting for them to say, This is appalling. Where did you dig up this rubbish? But they didn't... So I asked them, What do you think of the poem? Isn't it terrible?  Well, they said, actually it's not too bad. We don't expect Helen to be a Sylvia Plath after all, do we?  She's just normal, like you or me, and she writes normal poetry that is sometimes excruciatingly bad, and sometimes okay. So while this isn't a masterpiece it fits with her character.  Sigh.  Aren't my writing group lovely people?

Later, that night, when I was lying in bed I was still thinking about it. And what I was thinking was I wonder what my eighteen year old self would've thought of her poetry being used in a novel? 

And then my sensible self kicked in - she's such a killjoy - and said, Go to sleep, you moron.

No comments:

Post a Comment