Tuesday, 15 January 2013

30 Days of Blogging #15:
A Letter to Edmund Cusick

Dear Edmund,

today marks 6 years since you passed away. I can still remember the silence of the lecture halls, the sadness that clung to the walls of the common room. Eyes were red and clenched fists hid mascara-stained tissues. We knew you were ill, that you would be taking a semester off but we didn't know just how ill you were. You'd managed to hide that from us. And so your passing came as such a shock to us.

I'm not entirely sure what it is that I want to say to you today. I'm tongue-tied, lost for words. Something that should never happen to a writer. After all, you taught us all to be inspired by the world around us, to 'Observe' and 'Discover' things in even the most everyday situation. I think I just want to pause for a moment in time and remember all the amazing things about you and the great experiences you gave us all, that lucky generation of writers who passed through your seminar room.

I'll always cherish those chilly October evenings spent in drafty farmhouses or huddled around a fire at the centre of a reconstructed Roundhouse. I'll never forget the way you'd pull out that old rainstick in the middle of a class and after it made that shush-shussing noise ask 'Are you ready? Then I'll tell you a story..' and launch into an Arthurian Myth that felt as old as time and took us far, far away from that dimly lit lecture room where the rain beat down outside and a foghorn blasted in the distance. 

You taught us the art of Meditation, took us on guided Visualisation journeys where we met our inner dragons, saw the silent lake that dwelt within us. You gave us new experiences we never would have attempted on our own - Tai Chi on a pebble beach with the waves crashing at our backs, writing in the shadow of Stonehenge, the old standing stones more worn down and graffitied than I could have imagined, a sword fighting class where we pitched our newly acquired skills against each other with wooden swords. You were our Merlin, guiding us through life, imbuing us with skills we'd need on our journey into writing.

Your office door was always open, and a random passing on the stairs could easily lead to a half hour chat about the nature of the Samurai or some other seemingly obscure subject that seemed so relevant at the time. You were the only person who wanted to hear all of our fictional realms, our creative ideas and didn't judge us on the things we saw behind our closed eyelids. 

Edmund, taking Fantasy Fiction in the third year just wasn't the same. Dave was still a great teacher but things just weren't the same. The magic was gone. Writing was just writing, no longer the gateway to something more. We all missed you more than we dared say.

I can't imagine what the Imaginative Writing Department is like without you at its helm. I hear they've changed the name to 'Creative Writing'. It just doesn't have the same ring and I wonder what you would have thought. It seems to me that there's a distinct difference between 'Imagination' and 'Creativity'. You were the one who dragged the Imagination out of me and opened me up to a whole new style of writing. And I can't thank you enough.

The thought of all the years you dedicated to young writers romanced by the idea of seeing their name in print is, at times, the only thing that keeps me writing through the darkness, through the hopelessness of writer's block, of disillusionment and disbelief. 

Thank you so much for being a part of our lives.

Dr Edmund Cusick

Edmund Cusick

(1962 - 2007)


  1. I was taught by Edmund in the mid/late 90s. This was lovely to read. I'm glad to hear that the tai-chi beach sessions at Clynnog were enjoyed by future generations! He certainly had a big impact on us all.

  2. Thank you. He was such an inspirational man x


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