A Very Sudden Proposal…

Ah, ha! I thought that would get you reading! No, it’s not me, although it is of course 29th February and therefore traditionally the day on which women can propose to men! I’m referring to the poet Robert Browning (incidentally, although Dickens seems to be getting all the attention, it’s also the 200th anniversary of Browning’s birth this year).

Anyway, back to the proposal: Browning proposed to Elisabeth Barrett after their very first meeting! Now there was a man who didn’t like to hang around (although he had been in love with her poems long before he met her).

Now, if my man is waiting for me to get down on bended knee today, he’s out of luck. Partly because we’re in different houses at the moment and I won’t even see him until tomorrow but also because, well, that’s just not my thing! I am a firm believer that if a man wants to marry you, he will ask you. And if he doesn’t, he won’t. There’s not much point pushing and cajoling and putting him on the spot. It can all back-fire. Absolutely. Definitely. I know these things.

But, I’m sure several brave ladies will have taken the plunge and it’ll probably be on the news tonight. Eek. Good luck to them. I hope they all got the answer they were hoping for!!

Anyway, after all the caterwauling I was doing this morning, I don’t think it’s very likely that I’d get a ‘yes’ to a proposal. I was looking for suitable song titles for my class tonight. I want them to choose one of the titles and use it as the inspiration, or theme, for a poem or story.

This can work really well, by the way, as long as you don’t pick a song with such well known lyrics and ‘story’ that you won’t be able to think of anything but that – ‘the original’. I’m currently writing a short story inspired by the title of one of Adele’s songs , “Someone Like You.”

As I scoured the internet, plucking titles, I couldn’t help singing a line or two from every song I knew and as my piece de resistance, I downloaded a video (complete with lyrics – very handy) of ‘Looks Like We Made It’ by Barry Manilow from YouTube. I sang along with Bazzer at the top of my voice and it was great. Singing’s very therapeutic. If you want to have a go, here’s the link (don’t be put off by the slow start. It builds to a great crescendo).

“Did you like that?” I called into the next room. He was being strangely silent. Pause. Then I heard a sigh and a rather uncertain, “Yeeees.” (with undertones of ‘but please, not again’).

But I digress.

I had another email from blasted Maureen Street again today. They are obviously having a clear-out at Woman’s Weekly. La la laaa! (this is me trying not to get despondent). ‘No Men After Midnight’ was rejected on the grounds of ‘not enough surprises’ and ‘too-good-to-be-true ending’.

But I cheered up when the latest issue of ‘Writing’ magazine popped through the door. Whenever that happens, I drop everything and start flicking through it.

Firstly, I look to see if any of my articles have been printed (NO! Not this month – again! *sobs*) and then I look at the letters page to see if any kind readers have commented favourably on any of my stuff (this has happened – once or twice!) but also just out of interest. (I always liked reading magazine letters’ pages, even before the dawn of last year’s ‘Magazine Madness’!)

I was really pleased to see that my writing buddy, Sally Jenkins, has got the star letter in the April issue (hurrah! I zapped off a quick text to tell and congratulate her) and I was also heartened by the quote on the front of the magazine, from novelist Cathy Kelly: “1,000 words a day would be wonderful. If I do 300, I’m delighted.” Phew, that’s a relief, isn’t it? I sometimes imagine all these successful authors just zap out each novel, without even really trying. It’s good to know it’s hard work for them too!

P.S: There are some useful writing tips on Cathy Kelly’s website here.

This entry was posted in Magazine Madness, Magazines, Men, Poetry, Short Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Very Sudden Proposal…

  1. Hi Helen, that made me smile, are you back from checking your dictionary yet!! Another Maureen day, bless you, and here’s you writing a really great blog post as well, I’m glad to hear Sally’s got her letter in Writing magazine, I’ll pick one up and have a read. Bet your man’s been sitting waiting for that question all day.

    • Thanks, Susan – your comment made ME smile – ‘another Maureen day’, indeed! But it goes like that, I find, with writing. Lots of cr*ppy days and then, just occasionally… a good one. That’s what keeps me going!


  2. Keith Havers says:

    Today at the college where I work as student supervisor, one of the lady supervisors found a ring left on a table in the refectory. She came to tell me she was going to take it to lost property. As she approached, ring in hand, I said “Sorry I can’t. I’m spoken for.” She looked at me blankly until the penny dropped. It brightened up an otherwise quiet day.
    As for stories and song titles. Last year I entered one in my Writers’ Club competition called “So Where Is The Bloody Orinoco?” based on ‘Orinoco Flow’ by Eya. It came third.

  3. JohnY says:

    1288 Scotland ( yes tell him ! ) made 29th February the day ladies could propose
    and their chosen man could be fined if he declined .
    Ooh! not a lot of course being Scottish tradition,,,, just a wee kiss.
    Good luck

  4. Debbie W says:

    Just had a chuckle at Keith’s comment about the lady with the ring.

    Hee hee.

  5. Sue Shade says:

    I wonder if these two entries from Keir could be deleted, as he passed away in 2014. Thank you. (I was a friend and business partner.)

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