Friday, March 21, 2008

Pens at Dawn

The poetry challenge of 38 words, 1 poem set me thinking.

I confess, I am not that fond of poetry.  Shocking, isn't it?  I think it's because I see so many bad ones.  Somehow, the process of waxing lyrical within a set rhythm and structure always seem to produce a bunch of overly-wrought, simpering stanza of either saccharine chest beating or the boom of doom and gloom.  Most take themselves too seriously and are so pretentious that I get paper cuts in my haste to flip the pages as fast as possible.

That's not to say there are no good poems.  When they are good, they can transport you to a better world where words and emotions and mental imageries marry and tarry in your imagination.

I prefer prose.  I like to tell a story.  It probably harks to my childhood listening to my grandfather spin tall stories and leading me on quests that inevitably got us punished by my grandmother.

So, I always feel a little bit of a fraud and poser for writing poetry but sometimes it calls and I follow even if my heart veers to another.

My esteemed blogger of the 38-words challenge probably had no idea that it was with a sense of mild hesitation that I approached the challenge as his poetry is fierce indeed.  But my usually dormant to the point of non-existent competitive spirit arose and I think I rose to the challenge, acquitting myself with my usual élan.  

But that process of pushing myself out of my normal comfort zone made me think.  That was rather fun and I like challenges that do that.  

I used to compete in the crafting of words in a stressful environment.  Plain English speaking using a given concept within 30 minutes of deliberation.  Crafting stories with specific number of words in 10 minutes.  Usage of words and alliteration in quick draw exchanges.  Re-penning of lyrics to fit a melody after one swift listen.

The theme was fast and furious.  Rapid repartee of words.  One-upman-, or in my case, one- upwomanship of words and speech.  Humour always a prerequisite.  Wit a mandate.

It honed my skills and made sharp discourses a lethal tool that seared the air with fast paced verbal and literal sparring.

So, I started thinking.  How else can I challenge myself?  And I decided that I would combine two of my loves.

Art and words.  Which to me are fairly interchangeable and quite the same thing anyway.

I will pick an image, be it a painting or photo, and craft words to wrap around my interpretation like a lyrical photo caption.

Thus, onto the first challenge.  Pens on the ready ... en garde ...