Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You

Today’s prompt: You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. Today’s twist: read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

Well, here goes part 5! Yes, I’m keeping up my ‘serialised story’ and following the prompts and twists! In this case it’s a wedding anniversary, which looks as if it won’t be celebrated any more…

As all the other parts, this post/episode can be read on its own, but if you’d like to read the previous parts, 1-4, just scroll down after reading!

 

Last night I dreamt I returned to…. Part 5.

I can’t remember the first day I met Stella because I’ve known her as far back as my memories go. We were born in the same year, in the same hospital, and lived on the same street. We played together at nursery school, of course I don’t remember that, my mother used to tell me about it. Apparently I chased her around the playground, and wouldn’t play with any of the other toddlers.

Later on, we went to the same primary school. We’d walk there together with our mothers. Sometimes my mother would take us both, because her mother had to work shifts at Highwood Hospital.

We were in the same class, although not on the same table. I remember she was on the blue table where the brighter girls were, and I was on the yellow table with the slower learners. She taught me to read and helped me with my maths. She was always cleverer than me. I liked it. I admired her. I showed off because my girlfriend was the cleverest girl in the class, and the prettiest.

I always said she was my girlfriend, even when she wasn’t, even when we split up for a time because she went to a Convent School and I went to the local Comprehensive. Even when she went out with Chris O’ Keeffe, because her mother said he was a nice Catholic boy. Even when she moved away from our street and went to College in Cambridge, I still said she was my girlfriend.

She used to say, ‘Peter, stop saying that. I’m not your girlfriend. I’m just your friend. I’ll always be your friend, but never your girlfriend.’ And then she’d hug me, and hold my hand, and tell me about her ‘other’ life, the life she led when we were apart.

Today, 20th June, is our wedding anniversary. There’s no way I’m spending today without her. I have to find her. We’ve celebrated it together since we married, thirty-eight years ago. Before that we’d been living together for almost ten years, and before that, well, we were apart for a few years, while she finished College and travelled the world. She said she had to get it out of her system. I waited. I knew she’d come back.

Meanwhile, I was apprenticed with my father at the bakery. When she returned, I had saved up enough money to buy our first flat, but when her father died, and her mother went to a nursing home, she wanted to live in this house, the house she was brought up in, so we moved. It was a mistake.

The bedroom floor is covered with uneven bits of broken glass and blood, and she’s left a note:

I’m sorry, Chris, but I have to go. I know I told you I would wait, but I can’t stay here any longer. I’ve realized it’s not my house, or our house. It never was our house. The terrible things which happened here — we thought it didn’t matter, but it does. We thought we could start again, but we can’t. I understand why now. He is still here. She knows. You shouldn’t stay either.
I love you. S.N.

Why can’t she just forget about Chris?

***

Would you like to read some other Writing 101 posts?

 

 

 

20th June, 1837. The Birth of an Era: Victorian Britain

On Tuesday, 20th June 1837, at 6 o’clock in the morning, Princess Victoria was awoken by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, because the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain wished to see her. She greeted them in her dressing-gown and slippers, and they informed her that her Uncle, King William IV had died a few hours earlier, without any legitimate heirs, therefore, she was to become the Queen of England.

Princess_Victoria_and_Dash_by_George_Hayter

Princess Victoria and Dash by George Hayter

She wrote in her diary:

‘Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfill my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure that very few have more real good-will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have.’

Queen Victoria was an avid diarist. You can read more extracts from her diaries, here.

The Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne arrived at nine o’clock with the Declaration which the young Queen was to read to the Council accompanied by her two Uncles, the Dukes of Cumberland and Sussex. Her coronation was held at Westminster Abbey a year later on 28 June 1838.

When Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, in London, on 24 May 1819, nobody would have imagined she would be Queen of England, and Empress of India. She was the only daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III, who died shortly after her birth. She became heir to the throne because her three uncles, who were ahead of her in succession, George IV, Frederick Duke of York, and William IV, had no legitimate children.

Industrial and Technological Expansion

Queen Victoria is associated with Britain’s great age of industrial expansion, economic progress and, especially, Empire. At her death, it was said, Britain had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set.

While Queen Victoria’s reign was a time of great material prosperity and economic growth, industrialization and urbanization brought new social difficulties. Urban poverty and the poor treatment of many in the working classes were major results of the newly capitalized and industrialized economy, and political pressures mounted throughout the nineteenth century to address such problems before they amounted to a great crisis.

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The voyage of the Beagle, 1831–1836

The Victorian Era was also a time of tremendous scientific progress and ideas. Darwin took his Voyage of the Beagle, and posited the Theory of Evolution. The Great Exhibition of 1851 took place in London, displaying technical and industrial advances of the age in medicine, science and technology.

Modern psychiatry began with men like Sigmund Feud toward the end of the era, and radical economic theory, developed by Karl Marx and his associates, began a second age of revolution in mid-century. The ideas of Marxism, socialism, feminism gained strength at this time.

Britain’s overseas trading surpassed that of Italy, France and Germany combined, and in 1870 it was nearly four times the size of the American overseas markets, and at home industry was flourishing.

Britain was called “the workshop of the world.” The hard-working and industrious Victorians represented the cutting edge of the Industrial Revolution: the railway, the postal service, telegraph, telephone, steam ships, spinning machines; steam engines, electricity, photography, antiseptic surgery, vaccines, stethoscope, among others.

Reading and Writing in the Victorian Era

In the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, reading had been a privilege available to the upper-class elite. Books were very expensive and most of the population were unable to afford them. Jane Austen’s England of the turn of the century had very little to do with the country in which Charles Dickens lived.

640px-Charles_Dickens_by_Daniel_Maclise

Charles Dickens by Daniel Maclise

In the 1830s and 1840s a new form of printed text emerged: a lengthy prose fiction serialised in one-penny or two-penny weekly parts. These were usually stories involving adventure or Gothic-like elements. Many had no planned, pre-written end; they just continued until the public were no longer interested in the story. Some penny weekly novels in the 1850s and 1860s were serialized over four or more years.

Reading became less of a privilege of the wealthy and more of a pastime of the common British citizen, as a result, magazines provided monthly installments of news articles, satiric essays, poetry and fiction, enabling many authors to easily share their work with the public, and helped launch the careers of prominent Victorian writers such as Dickens, Eliot, Tennyson, and the Brownings.

Have a look at this list of Victorian authors

I would compare these technological advances and this change in literary market to the present day digital technology, self-publishing industry and Social media.

The Victorians were avid readers of serialized and popular fiction, much as we are readers of ebooks and blogs!

 

Pictures used are in the Public Domain.