Goodwood

Goodwood

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Art of Losing

‘One Art by Elizabeth Bishop’

This is one of my favourite poems because there is a sense of the enormity versus the individuality of each loss. And you can read this poem via this link: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15212

Elizabeth Bishop writes so beautifully. Her simple phrase is eloquent, yet it gains momentum as she repeats this phrase: ‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master;’

Each of us will respond very differently to losing something. Of course it depends on the significance of the loss. But say a simple a set of keys, it’s an event that most of us have experienced at one time or another. Our reaction to the loss of the keys will be determined by how important it is for us to find them and how urgent it is, especially if we are up against a time limit. As this poem progresses her loses grow in size and value.

So as Bishop advises us the reader: ‘lose something everyday,

Along the way today I may lose an hour ot two doing something that will be of little value – maybe – and will I be indifferent to its lose? I don’t know and cant say yet.

Ultimately, I think this extraordinary poem is about losing control. And about wanting to yet being unable to control events, consequently we can only respond to them, if given a chance and should we practice losing small things? Then maybe it won’t feel so bad to lose.

My novel, ‘Letting Go,’ is about three women: Alicia, Harriet and Lucy. Their lives should be simple, but each has to face a loss. How they cope faced with their losses and choices, I wonder - would you react as they do?

During February I will aim to discover what losses affect me and if this affects my writing. And if I can add to the development of my book and its characters.

Join me and see if I or we lose similar objects as I will catalogue my first loss tomorrow.

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