Advice

Rhyme away, good poets!

This was written on the fly as a response to a blogger’s apology for rhyming a line in her poem. This sentiment has always troubled me, as I feel there is plenty of room in the poetic world for both structured and free verse, and frankly, I find the challenge of writing a rhyming piece to be thrilling and worthwhile. The doesn’t mean I think free verse is without merit – I read and love a lot of it. But, anyway, let my words rhyme and tell my tale…

Since when did it become a crime
To write a verse that dared to rhyme?
Sure, poet-snobs may toot and cough
And lift their noses when they scoff –
But let me ask these rhyming foes:
What of the Shakespeares? Byrons? Poes?
So many greats that worked in rhyme
And structured meter, beating time
With foots, with iambs, carefully wrought
As ‘gainst the wiles of language fought
To tell a tale that pleased to sing
Because they had a rhyming ring.
So if you rhyme, why take offense?
The classics are your best defense.

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Kick Fear in the Sack…

Three days of not writing is all it took to make it hard again. Well, not terribly hard. After all, here I am, writing and reading and commenting. The latter part helps more than I would have guessed; reading the works of the brilliant (and sometimes terrible) minds of the people I’ve stumbled across on this journey of habit formation is sometimes the very cure I need to my lethargy. I read your words, my friends, and weep. I read them and laugh. I read them and shout with excitement. I read them…and feel. Oh, so very much. And what is writing, what is reading, if not feeling?

A friend of mine, a fellow writer, mentioned that sometimes, she sits down to write, and wonders if it is worth it, if there aren’t better things she could be doing with her time. She also asked what excites us about writing, and what makes us scared. This was my reply:

Imagine if Hemingway had asked that. Or Tolkien. Or Rowling. The thing is, ALL writing is worth your time. Even if you were a terrible writer (which I doubt absolutely), the time you spent would not be wasted. I have read some terrible, awful fiction…and yet, it got published. And that terrible stuff inspires me to write. Maybe something less terrible. Maybe even something great, that will inspire and entertain, and maybe even teach someone a little. The point is, that wondering, that questioning of worth, is just another aspect of fear. Another way that fear is manipulating you and keeping you from doing what your heart wants. Kick fear in the sack. Write.

My moments of excitement are easy to define – they are the ones where I begin writing and become lost in the world of my imagination, when the words flow from my brain through my fingertips and onto the screen and I can say to myself “this is good stuff!” The moments of fear are less hard to define, as they can be so insidiously subtle. They are the moments where I am too tired to write (but not too tired to play a video game for several hours). They are the moments where I have a great idea, then sit down at the screen and stare at it blankly. They are the moments where I am a hundred pages into a work, then go back and read it and rip it all to shreds and start over. Fear sucks. Fear is, as Herbert so eloquently put it, the mind-killer. But when you conquer that fear? That is the best excitement of them all.

So that is my advice for today. The advice that I am going to take myself.

Kick fear in the sack.

Be excited.

WRITE!