Sunday, 28 March 2010

Positive pictures in my mind

Last week I talked in my blog about creating positive pictures for the filing cabinet in our minds. I’ve decided that I need to create lots of positive images in my mind right now so I’ve made a collection of them. While these pictures, in the montage on the left, create wonderful, positive images in my mind, they possibly won’t in yours because each photograph comes with an internal dialogue of a good time that I’ve had. These pictures mean to me:

Josh about to jump onto the settee even though he knows it’s against the rules

The view we shared with a pigeon at our breakfast table in fabulous Venice

Our favourite view of Blakeney Quay in Norfolk

I love the wild East Coast sea

Josh enjoying his garden

As a writer I’m interested in collecting positive pictures without pictures, pictures painted with words alone. I love the way that Marge Piercy in The Art of Blessing the Day describes a ripe peach,

...this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun...

And I can feel her first garden tomato in my hand with her words,

...How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,
warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.
You are the savour of summer in a thin red skin...

I thought it would be easy to find lots of extracts of writing that painted positive pictures but I’ve trawled through my poetry books and most of my favourite poems are depressing. I’ve flicked through my novels but the pieces of writing that come alive for me are again the sad pieces. [You can see why I need to collect positive images.]

I was sure that there were lots of writers out there who could tell me about beautiful, positive pieces of descriptive writing so I put out a plea on Twitter and below are two extracts that paint pictures in other people’s minds.

Karen Thorne. who runs the Hopton House Bed & Breakfast, sent me this extract from W. B. Yeats’ The Wind Among the Reeds,

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


Claire Marriott who you can find at sent an extract from Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie. She said that the words stuck in her mind the first time she heard them and they’ve stayed there ever since.
‘It is just a beautiful way of saying it’s good to be different,’ she told me.

“I wish that you were my sister. I'd teach you to have some confidence in yourself. The different people are not like other people, but being different is nothing to be ashamed of. Because other people are not such wonderful people. They're one hundred times one thousand. You're one times one! They walk all over the earth. You just stay here. They're common as - weeds, -but - you - well, you're - Blue Roses!”

“But blue is wrong for - roses...”

“It's right for you !”

A great big thank you to both of my Twitter friends.

Does anyone else have a positive, descriptive piece of writing to share? Please post it below and feel free to include your blog address as well.

I’m looking forward to reading them and creating some more of those much-needed, positive images in my mind.


  1. Beautiful images and passages. Thanks to you and those who submitted for sharing them!

  2. Love the photos - Josh is gorgeous :)

    I don't read as much poetry as I used to - less time I guess. I love Margaret Atwood's stuff, but it's not for positive pictures - she's all about making you think!

    Robert Frost paints some beautiful pictures for me. :)

  3. Hi Jemi, I may be biased but he is rather gorgeous, isn't he.

    One of my favourite poems by Frost is The Road Not Taken but the words don't provide me with positive pictures... just regrets because it's that sort of a poem.

  4. Hi Rosalind
    Belatedly posting here as the wonderful spring weather has not only made me feel positive but also reminded me of Sheena Pugh's poem 'Sometimes'. Apparently the author feels it has been misread, but maybe that's a good thing! I expect you know it. I love all the images and sentiments. Comments and poem here
    I'm in my usual place with some spring pictures