I admit that that setting the theme for each week is something I do with trepidation. It has become more of a task during lockdown as it is now a weekly, rather than a fortnightly, requirement, but also because, in normal times, a new theme will often be triggered or suggested during conversational interchanges. Nowadays, I know almost immediately if we have hit the thematic jackpot as your contributions come in almost before I have finished pressing ‘send’ on the blog, and that was the case this week. The theme was The Mirror and what a fascinating pot pourri of writing it inspired.
I’d like to start with the poem described by one reader as honey to the heart, a moving plea for compassion on many levels – be all that each of us is not. Indeed. Then there was the beautiful tribute to a departed love, catalogued in domestic mirrors but carried eternally in the mind and heart. Another intriguingly mused on the many funeral customs which involve mirrors and the superstitions behind them.
The rap, which went quite suddenly from gloom to hope, enraptured me and I read it out loud to the amusement of my feline and canine audience. Then a more sober reflection on the perverseness of self was followed by another, much longer submission, bravely questioning the very meaning of sanity. A good question at this moment in history, I reckon. And a bittersweet pastiche on the evil queen of fairy tale fame was tinged with a sadness which gave her unexpected depths.
The stories were as varied as the poems, one centred on a cave dwelling hermit, climaxed with a re-writing of the biblical story of creation, and another depicted a civilisation falling to pieces with the death of a King and the subsequent loss of the mirror – a magical relic. A charming fairy tale used a hall of mirrors to highlight the absurdity of some attitudes to physical differences, and yet another described a literally murderous ascent to fame and fortune.
There were several ghost stories, of course- one evoking a boyhood memory of a continuing spectral presence on a stairway, taking us neatly back to another period of time, and another of a woman realising too late that she had been gifted an unwanted glimpse into the future. In yet another, the rituals of death proved to have more substance than one of the murderous protagonists had realised.
Not all the stories were eerie, there was a wonderfully happy reminiscence describing a group of schoolgirls bonded as they journeyed together into the adult world. However, I shall finish with the very first one to arrive this week, the letter from Milo the dog, who sent us a photo of his refection in a mirror along with his thoughts on the strange behaviour of his mistress when near this same mirror.
No – wait– I nearly forgot to mention that Alice is alive and, if not well, only bleeding slightly as she lurks in a darkened cave, waiting for…well, who knows? Hopefully, we shall find out next week.
Again, thank you all. There has been some magical, brilliant writing from everyone. I hope you will like next week’s theme. Hold your breath, of not your nose, the theme is Smells.
(Oh dear, I have just remembered that one of our group suffers from anosmia, so my apologies – but I am sure you will think of something, even if it just writing about that!)