New story published

2 03 2009

First off, it feels  like this is going to be a good year for me.

My writing is going well and I’ve already had some good responses to pieces I’ve sent out.

My first publication of the year can be found here…

The Battered Suitcase – March 2009.

The rest of this week I’m going to devote to getting my assignment finished.  I’ve enjoyed the poetry I’ve been writing but not sure it’s suitable for marking.  Some of the subject matter is a bit heavy going and I’m afraid my tutor might not “get it”.  And because I’ve put my heart into it I’m really not sure if I want to risk that.

To put your emotional heart into a piece is part of the joy of writing.  It can be like therapy, even if (as with this poem I’m thinking of) you’re using a different experience, the emotions are yours, you feel them, as you try to put life into your characters.  And that’s part of what makes it so frightening to send them into the world to be read, and judged, by others.  If a person doesn’t “get it” it can feel as though they don’t get you.  As though your emotions aren’t valid.

I’m sure this is part of the reason why so many good writers do it in secret for years, manuscript after manuscript gathering dust in a drawer.  The writer too terrified of having the feelings inside his or her head held up to public scrutiny.

I may stick to the softer option.  I have another short story I’ve been working on, and though I’m not sure it’s as good I think I’d be less personally hurt if the tutor tears it to bits.  But am I just copping out?

Is it my job, as a writer, to lay it all out on the page and hope that whatever genuine experience I’ve mined and carved into a new shape, resonates with the reader?  Should I trust that if I write “the truth” as I see it, that the reader will sympathise with my characters?  Or should I play safe and only write about stuff that has less depth but which will hurt me less if criticized?

How do other writers cope with sending out personal writing?

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Why some women stay

10 01 2008

To burn it all, to walk away would leave too big a scar.
He makes no excuses, gives no logic,
Nothing to fight against.
Supine; an infant.
A six foot baby with no mother.
And her breasts, still too full of love.
Swollen with maternal surplus.
But instead of cutting the apron strings
She’ll choke him with them.

The Song of the Sea

29 10 2007

Her life was undulated.
In her depths she was a mermaid-ghost,
Almost never there,
Shut off from the world.
Then the waves rose and the storm force took her
Higher, higher, higher
Twelve feet tall, invincible;
A warrior princess.

If the hunters came
It could be her final night.
She didn’t care.
Fearless; unconcerned,
No vulnerability
The waves crashed in again.
Shame washed her upon the shore
Dishevelled and wanton.

She tried to dig.
To hide under the sand,
But it would not stay fixed.
Poured away, fell from her grasp
Slid off her skin as she dried out
Defilement. The shame
Pressed down like the sweltering sun
Burning her skin; making her eyes sting.

“No more!”

She looked up and saw
The horizon and the temperate ocean.
And in she waded; stepping with new cold toes.
The water grabbed;
Resisted but she continued
Once again with the sea.
Sinking deeper
Until the weight of it held her still again.

© Jenny Love
Oct 2007

Having bit of a rough time of things the past few weeks. Don’t know if it’s just post-course blues or if I’ve been burning the candle at both ends too much but writing this really helped me make sense of what I’ve been feeling. I don’t know if that’s what poetry is meant for but anyway…it helped.


25 03 2007

This is an exercise where we were told to write about a trapped character but to show this through the setting rather than to name the feeling.

She’ll be home from work soon. I look around at the house and try my best to assess the damage. In the far corner of the sitting room the brand new TV lies on it’s side but it hasn’t even been dented. The plant pot’s contents are poured across the beige carpet and the Aspidistra is lying down in the tipped soil as though the wind has been knocked out of it. There are shards of glass on the other side of the room. The angry remains of the mirror that scolded me for questioning the face looking back at me.

I don’t know what came over me. She’ll be home soon, looking for an explanation. I could tell her we’ve been burgled. I’ve lied so much already. What harm will one more do? Or I could try my best to tidy up. But it won’t be enough. She’ll notice the stain. She’ll know that something is out of place. She always does. The books will be in the wrong order or the plant won’t be sitting the right way round.

I know she can’t help it. Mike says I would be better of out of it but how could I leave? Everything looks so bloody perfect. The outside world see us, see our home. The pristine white of the net curtains. The kitchen with it’s sparkling sink. She’ll come home from work. Her hair and make-up will still be perfect; she’ll carefully cook a nutritionally sound meal. Her mouth will make the shape of a smile and we’ll pretend to make polite conversation and then, long after I go to bed, the cleaning and the scrubbing will start. Only her hands give her away. Her nails are brittle and her fingertips worn out from three years of bleach and chemicals. The angry red mark around her wedding ring.

I want her to come home and find the mess. Maybe that’s what she needs. To see the way normal people live. Mike’s house is so comfortable. The cushions are never straight. The kitchen sink is often full of dirty cups. The sheets are only changed once a week. He doesn’t have to worry if he leaves his dirty socks by the bed or forgets to rinse out the basin after brushing his teeth.

I step over the debris through to the kitchen to get the dust pan and brush from under the sink. The cupboard is stacked full of cleaning products, neatly arranged with clinical precision. I need to remember to wipe it down after I tidy up the plant and I focus on exactly where everything is sitting so I return it all just so. She’ll be home soon.

I remember we used to have fun. The house was warm and the tidiness a comfort. But then she never stayed up cleaning all night. That only came after the accident. If Dad hadn’t died I’m sure things would be so different.

Thoughts on an ID card culture

19 02 2007

Please enter your details as instructed
Name, face, number all deconstructed
No objections they’re counter-productive
They want to know it all
These powerful men try to disempower me
Into homogeneous obscurity
Waving the magic bar-code wands
To give us
Pan optical illusions of security
Challenging my identity
All tuned into the same frequency
To my original

(Feb 2007)

10am 22nd July 2005

16 02 2007

Turbulence. Buildings coming down.
The sky is falling down.
Do you understand where I’m coming from?
This life. Still trying to fit in outside
Chasing my tail again.
Watching the rain again.

All that you’ve ever known is still in your head.
Is it just in your head?
Do you know what I mean?
Will you tell me your dreams,
Or lie awake with me listening to the sound of the rain?

Insignificance. Dark eyed and terrified.
Make shadows in candlelight.
Do you see how they twist and turn?
Half life. Can you take me away tonight?
Make it all go away.
I’m too tired to fight tonight.

Intelligence. A man on the underground. A man falls down. Dark shadows all around. One life.
Mistakenly mis-identified.

(July 2005)

In memory of Jean Charles de Menezes


16 02 2007

Go beyond the night, where the pale moon sings
Set the streets alight, with the mood that she brings
Lift your head to the stars.
Could they find you? Would you welcome them in?
Crawled inside you, through the holes in your being.
-It’s just getting better now.

Catching the ends of your butterfly wings
Running around these eternity rings
Searching for something you never quite reach
Just within your grasp,
But beyond belief.

Go beyond the dreams where the nightmares sleep
Smash their faces, with the secrets you keep
Hold their heads till the morning.
When you come around, with your newborn pride
Open your eyes. It’s just getting better now.
Telling me everything, everything, everything.

(June 1998)