Boo Hoo Hoo!

I’ve just been making myself blub. Ridiculous! Especially when I tell you what I’ve been crying about.

I’ve been talking to my classes about the importance of ‘writing from the heart’ and to get them writing with real emotion and feeling, I’ve set them the task of writing ‘The Letter I Always Wanted To Write’.

The Guardian has a readers’ slot for one of these each Saturday and they pay £25 for those that they publish. Have a look here and read some of them to get an idea of the kind of thing they are looking for. (Bet you’ll cry too!)

This exercise has produced some really great – and heart-wrenching – writing from my students. One – a letter from one of my students to her son’s former primary school teacher – is particularly powerful (actually, it makes you want to get the teacher struck off!). I could imagine it as a scene in a film. I hope I can persuade her to submit it to The Guardian – although she’ll have to change the names of the teacher, the school and her son, just in case anyone gets ‘upset’(or sues, I suppose!)

I can really recommend giving it a go (not sueing – writing a letter!) – even if you don’t intend to send the letter you write to The Guardian or to show it to anyone.

I’ve just had a go myself and written a letter to my HOUSE (and this is what made me cry! Told you it was a bit pathetic)…because, yes, it looks as though, fingers crossed (and depending on planning permission and stuff), I will be on the move over the next few months and therefore I’ll be leaving my little house, where I’ve been so happy.

The ‘waiting game’ (see my haiku in the post below!) paid off and our offer on our ‘joint’ house has now been accepted. Watch this space….. !

Talking of crying, am I the only one who gets a lump in the throat from that John Lewis Christmas advert? (Sorry to mention the C word there). It’s brilliant – and what a clever twist. That would have made a great short story – but too late now, it’s been done!

Click below if you want to watch it (and no, I’m not on commission from John Lewis- honest!).

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12 Responses to Boo Hoo Hoo!

  1. Tracy Fells says:

    Er thanks I think … not having actually seen the advert I watched this …then had to go buy the song off itunes (what a sucker am I?)

    • Tracy No, you’re not a sucker -it’s a lovely song. I’ve just been for a walk to the post box and I was humming/singing it all the way there and back (probably didn’t sound quite as nice coming from my vocal chords, but there you are!)

  2. Michaela Eyley says:

    What a lovely (and sad) post. Just read the letter published in the Guardian by the guy who lost his mum dated 24th September. Mine is still alive and as well as can be expected, but me being far away from her makes me worry how much I’ll be able to be there for her when the time comes. It scares me but like Brendan I know I’m very much loved, and that has to be the best gift ever.

    Well done on getting a house – i’m sure you’ll be making very happy memories there. Wishing you tons of luck, and yes, maybe I’ll write a letter, too.

    • Ooh yes, Michaela, that’s a real tear-jerker (just read it again but I have read that one before – still has the power to whack you in the chest though, doesn’t it?!). Sorry if I have made people sad! Know what you mean about worrying – the best thing to do I think (if you can! It’s not easy, I know) is to concentrate on today and let the future come in its own good time. Otherwise, the danger is, that you spoil ‘today’ when you should be enjoying it. End of lecture!

  3. Prue says:

    Heh! I think there are some letters I wouldn’t dare write, or if written would not dare post!
    Might be therapeutic to do so though…:D

  4. Prue says:

    The other Prue says: that ad is great. I think the boy has a long future in acting too.

  5. Gail Aldwin says:

    Hi Helen
    Having been inspired to try another genre of writing (the letter you always wanted to write), I’d like to say thank for your brilliant blog. You seem like a person with an endless supply of positive energy which I certainly tap into whenever I receive one of your posts. You are exactly the sort of on-line friend that isolated writers need. The information you share, the challlenges you pose and the encouragement you offer is much appreciated.
    Gail Aldwin

    • Aww Gail, thanks (*blushes*) that’s really nice to hear. Sometimes I do wonder (honestly!) if I’m writing a complete load of rubbish, so it’s nice to know that some of it, at least, is worth a read!! Good luck with your ‘letter you always wanted to write’!

      • Prue says:

        I agree with Gail, especially the comment about the ‘positive energy’. This blog sparks with creativity and I value that, as I am one of those isolated writers Gail refers to.
        Rubbish? I don’t think so.

    • Alice says:

      I agree with Gail too 🙂 Thanks for a fab blog, Helen.
      Oh and the John Lewis advert is adorable-love it!

  6. Ads have loads to tell us about how to get emotion into stories in a very short space of time. I speak as a lifetime fan of Barry Louis Polisar after the ad for National Lotto. We’re all suckers but the good news is we can learn how to suck others into the fantabulous stories we’re all trying to create. Thanks for a lovely post. Cathy x

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