This rhyming stuff is hard

Cat in the Hat

Ah the calendar flip! How does this happen? Every year we get a brief splash of orange and black just before we get bombarded with green and red. But with the change in seasonal palette we also get new opportunities for growth. The National Novel Writing Month has started and you can practically hear the creativity crackling through the air. I’ve modified the concept of writing a novel in one month to create a Seuss inspired children’s book this month.

The first day. I started, like I do most things in my life, with careful research into strange language. Anapestic tetrameter. I know. It sounds like a disease. It is the academic, super smart way of describing the Seussian rhythm behind his mad rhymes. After an hour or so of trying to figure out how I could figure out if a syllable is stressed or not, I just started writing.

I have a couple of pages that are a long, long way from looking like anything resembling a children’s book. But the point of this month is just to write, not to write well. The ‘well’ part of the writing comes from practice and gentle editing done long after the initial mess of creativity. Right now, I am learning to write in a whole new style, so I have decided to chill out and stop trying to make it perfect. 🙂

I learned something today. I really don’t understand the language of describing language. C’mon! Anapestic tetrameter? Be serious. This doesn’t make any sense to me. But when I forget about all that stuff and feel the thump thump bump of the books I love, it all starts flowing. I also couldn’t find an antecedent if I stabbed myself in the eyeball with one. Most of that English class stuff I learned for the exam, but most of everything I know about grammar, usage and structure, I know by feel. It either sounds right, or it sounds wrong. I learned by repetition, and some patient editors, to sense the difference.

So my whole goal is to immerse myself in the fluid soup of words and rhythm and rhyme over the next month. And when the calendar flips again I will bring out my green and red editing pens. Til then it is all thumpa bumpa bump. 😀


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