Okay, so I was going to stop weekly writing experiments, but in fact I had decided to do them every now and then as the whim takes me and inspiration strikes. And lo! So soon.
The spur and inspiration: my brilliant friend Bhanu Kapil, and her brilliant blog, which this week included a post of her break-up letter to Jacques Derrida.
Dear Derrida: I waited for you behind the pillar at the Rijksmuseum in 1988. Do you recall? We drank cocoa in the cafe. You showed me how to breathe. I was wearing a lambs wool jumper. You were wearing a mauve silk shirt unbuttoned to your mid chest. Though it was cold. It was winter. I break up with how much I longed for you at that time of my life. I break up with the desire to be seen. Hey. Are you reading this? Death: a letterbox. You are so beautiful. I sank to my knees. I am sorry I did not understand your poetry at the time and judged it so harshly. Goodbye for now. Goodbye forever. Love: you know who I am.
I reckon that break-up letters are great for writing. You tap into something profound. You latch on to details, and then latch the writing on to those details. Your voice is powerful and direct in its address. Your writing is laden with purpose. Go for it!
For this week’s writing experiment: Write a break-up letter. True, fictional, personal, political (Scotland didn’t write one after all yesterday).
(The writing of this post is not responsible for any ensuing divorces. It is amazing what can surface in writing experiments.)
(And additional thanks to Ella Longpre, who once gave me a brass heart, which afterwards I realised made me the Tin Man. If I only had a heart … And he had one all along.)
(PS I should stop judging poetry I don’t understand so harshly too.)