writing rules

1 post

Breaking the Rules

Rules for writing, poetry or otherwise, are as plentiful as mosquitoes during a wet July. One such dictum, come down from Moses, it would appear, is never to use clichés. For one, you’ll have to remember how to get an accent aigu on the screen. And for another, you’ll be considered a lazy writer using lazy phrases in a lazy way.

Unless, of course, you want to break the rules. Purposely. With panache. Isn’t that what rules are for? Breakage? Run-arounds? Clears and dig-unders?

Surely that’s what the poet Ronald Wallace had in mind when he composed the following ode (of sorts) to clichés:



Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.

All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.

Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.

Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
I can
take it with me.


And take it with him, Wallace did, fashioning success from mistakes connected elephant trunk to elephant tail, start to finish.

What a great lesson. Creativity über alles once more (even when you have to remember how to get an umlaut on the screen).