Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Limericks and Other Creative Writing

Over at Livejournal, where my (much more personal) blogging alter ego resides, there was an interesting writing prompt today. Apparently today is “Limerick Day,” and the challenge was to create a short poem that followed the AABBA rhyme scheme of a typical limerick. (The responses make it appear that sticking to the anapestic meter of a traditional limerick was optional, however.)

So I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a try. I haven’t done much creative writing in the last few years, mainly because the writing and editing that I’m paid to do gets in the way, and it turns out I kind of miss it. So I sat down and cranked out two limericks.

They suck. (I’ve posted them at the end of this entry. Feel free to make fun of them in the comments.) I’m not a humorist, and writing things that are supposed to be witty or clever is not exactly my forte.

But it’s okay that they suck. Because writing them turned out to be a surprisingly fun and educational exercise. It’s really, really difficult to write a limerick---especially for a stickler like me, who was determined to not only work with the rhyme scheme, but also conform to the correct meter. With so many constraints, it really makes you think about your word choice, and swap out one word or phrase for one that might work better.

So without further ado, I present you with two really terrible limericks:

Annemarie was a girl who loved cheese
And she’d say, “Mom, just give me some, geez!”
Her mom said, “You want Swiss?
“Well, I’m sorry, you’ll miss
“If you don’t say the magic word: please!”


Mrs. Potts had a young son named Chip
And he had a small crack on his lip.
When Belle drank from the cup,
Young Chip cried, “Bottoms up!”
As the crack caused the teacup to drip.

If you’re a nonfiction writer, do you find it benefits your writing if you try your hand at another genre, like poetry or fiction? Leave a response in the comments and let me know!

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