Re-learning to be silly. Here’s one I haven’t talked about. Writing muscles, like the physical ones we’re always fretting about, also need to be used on a regular basis to keep them in shape. The problem is that not all writing muscles are alike. Writing a novel takes different muscles than it takes to write a picture book. Same for fiction vs. nonfiction, etc. One of our tritest expressions is true nevertheless. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Case in point. I haven’t written silly for quite a while. I have a book of humorous poems coming out in March and some of the poems in it might qualify as silly, but mostly they’re funny.
I have a subject and a plan, and part of the plan involves writing silly. I wrote a silly poem to get started. But it’s not very good, silly-wise. The form is okay. The rhymes are fine. The thought is silly. But the poem is too concerned with form. It’s funny-stuffy, self-conscious. It’s trying too hard and belaboring the point. I’d give it a 4 on the silly scale.
I tried a second poem. Not as long as the first but still a little much for the typical silly poem. I tried to pay less attention to form but I think my recent spate of doing science based nonfiction poems is still trying to muscle in on my silly act. It’s better, maybe a 7. But that’s not book country.
I can do this. I know silly. I just need to work out a little more, tighten up what’s gotten flabby. I may not be paying as much attention to my stomach as I should, but right now silly is my goal. Come to think of it, the likelihood of deflabberizing my stomach in the near future is silly too.