This post is approximately 500 words.
The following verse represents about an hour’s worth of work, which means it’s not highly polished, yet I still managed to work in rhyme and rhythm with minimal effort.
However, if you’ve ever written a verse in rhyme, you know that sometimes it requires a ridiculous commitment to the style. For me, I usually get about three-fourths done before I start to question my decision. It comes around the time I think, “I need a rhyme for itch: ditch, Fitch, hitch, kitsch, liche, Mitch, niche…” Then comes the expectation that the audience will find the verse absurd because stylistic compromises were made just to get a rhyming word in.
But that’s fine. In a writing exercise, you’re not seeking art or permanence. You’re chasing the muse, curious about where she leads. It’s almost disposable writing, which is not to say it’s worthless. To the contrary, it very well could end up in a finished work. But again, that’s not the point. The goal, the real objective, is to keep your writing tools honed. This makes your daily manuscript work easier because you’ve kept your mind sharp.
In the spirit of the Halloween season, I hope you can enjoy this little cautionary tale, written in the style of old nursery rhymes.
Beneath the leaves of dark and green Between the trees with roots unseen The silent creature with eyes so keen Beware the Critch, its claws of black The snatcher’s bag upon its back It wants you children for a snack! It creeps ‘round here It creeps ‘round there It finds its way in anywhere! It always looks for one child more. Be sure to check your closet door And watch the shadows ‘pon the floor! My darling child, be sure to hide Be in your bed and fear abide Or take the Critch’s midnight ride. It creeps ‘round here It creeps ‘round there It finds its way in anywhere! For as by now, I know you’ve heard I’ve watched you hang on every word. Yet still I fear you’ll be absurd. Stay in this bed and do not fail! You’ve heard the words of caution’s tale Upon a night with moon so pale It creeps ‘round here It creeps ‘round there It finds its way in anywhere! Stay in your room, ignore that itch! Lest you succumb unto the Critch. Lest you succumb unto the Critch.
Every word you put down can make you a better writer. Sometimes, you want to enjoy the writing more, which makes it feel less like work. That’s the real purpose behind this exercise.
Do fun stuff.
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© Michael Wallevand, October 2016