Friday Writing Experiment No. 37: Old Friends, New Faces


Today I am in Rome. My life isn’t usually so Hilda Hatbox, but it’s my old flatmate Milva’s fiftieth birthday party (you’d never guess she’s a day over twenty-five, though she is wearing Harold Lloyd specs now). Various old friends have come in from different places – London, Sweden, New York, Germany – and also in attendance will be friends from Italy as well as Milva’s family. The party tomorrow should be a jolly event, and this evening some of us are eating at a restaurant in the Jewish quarter – deep-fried artichokes, I’m told. Also today squeezed in an exhibition on Augustus (their penises were really, really small in the olden days, weren’t they?! even the emperors! I mean, you’d think an emperor …), and some lite Xmas/selfie shopping at a market nearby (shirt, Tibetan singing bowl, nail file set, scarves, plus a final touch for my outfit for tomorrow night’s sixties-themed birthday party – it does feel a bit Grande Bellezza, doesn’t it?!). Even managed to fit in some shopping at the Basilica of San Giovanni. New pope tat abounds. Oh, and had a fantastic bowl of pasta and two glasses of fruity red wine for lunch.

But that’s all the selfish stuff. I am also remembering visiting Milva a couple of years ago. We looked at old photos from when she shared a flat more than twenty years ago. We were so young! We could have wept. Those innocent faces. Where did the years go?

It will be great fun to see people tonight and tomorrow. It’s been so long! Life moves along, but then fortunately it has occasions when we all come back together.

For this week’s writing experiment: write about a reunion. Old friends, new faces – because old friends have newer (and older) friends and lovers they bring along too. This can be based on a real-life gathering, or an imagined gathering of real people, or it could be purely fictional. Bring your people/characters to life with a couple of details, though not too much slavish description, perhaps. Let them come alive with interaction, dialogue, and memory, as well as a sense of where they might head next.

Friday Writing Experiment No. 17: O, Just-spring!

I don’t know about you, but it’s felt like a long and cold winter, and according to the calendar we’ve still a ways to go; this is only February the 1st, and we’re closer to Christmas than the official start of spring.

But this week I also felt a certain spring in my step, and a sense of the lengthening days; even if it was bloody cold out there, there was also something different in the light. The sun seems to get higher above that row of houses over the back, and the blackbird has returned, and the robin, and slowly, slowly those crocuses and daffodils and hyacinths are poking up through the soil in those pots in the back garden. Wonder when they’ll flower? Those green shoots have been patient for a few weeks now.┬áThe lawn is most definitely mud-luscious. Spring is ever-returning (thanks, Uncle Walt).

So, let’s take a stand against the darkness, and though it’s premature write a poem or an invocation or a gratitude that invites a bit of Just-spring to return to our lives. It’s something of a reach, but sometimes stretching is good for our writing.

Here’s a small sample of Just-springy poems (I nixed a few that refer to later months – that seemed to be rubbing it in too much, or tempting fate to bring back winter). Add others or links or your own in the comments below, if you wish.

E.E. Cummings, ‘[in Just- / spring]’

Tony Hoagland, ‘A Color Of The Sky’

Emily Dickinson, ‘A Bird Came Down The Walk’

Walt Whitman, ‘When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloom’d’

William Shakespeare, ‘Spring’

William Wordsworth, ‘Lines Written In Early Spring’

Jane Cooper, ‘Hunger Moon’

Anselm Hollo, ‘Webern’