I recently attended a couple of events at this year’s Penzance Literary Festival. The first was a writing and mythology workshop, facilitated by poet and prose writer Angela Stoner. I mucked in as a steward for one event the following day and that turned out to be Angela’s as well. I hope to interview her soon either on this blog or the sister blog www.strictlywriting.blogspot.co.uk
Like many writers I found expression through poetry in my teens, although no one dug my doggerel at the time. Maybe I was channelling my inner William McGonagall.
The session Angela gave on myth took me in an unusual direction when I got home. I started to think about those elements of my storywriting that come from other people, often without their knowledge. Those precious slivers of overheard conversations that I skewered on my notebook pages, the borrowed memories, and the brutal cannibalisation of other people’s experiences.
Graham Greene is said to have said: “There is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer.” Some say it’s jagged glass, but I prefer the idea of ice as it suggests the possibiity of a thaw.
Anyway, taking all of the above as inspiration, here’s a poem.
I Confess – More or Less
I stole your pet’s name
And I took your cousin’s too.
I ripped your life into ribboned strips
And sewed them up anew.
I altered crucial details
To hide my heinous crimes.
I changed the date you met your fate
I lied about those times.
I painted myself in the picture
When I wasn’t even there.
I made a heroine out of you
And pretended that she cared.
I moved you to a country
Where I know you’ve never been.
I gave our lines to others
And reordered all the scenes.
I wrote you out of context
With a wild and wicked pen.
I plunged an ice shard in my heart
To serve the story’s ends.
I’ll never share the secrets
Of a thousand personal worlds.
But I’ll scatter fragments liberally
To turn them into pearls.