Breaking Writing Rules (and a poetry contest)

e.e. cummings changed the way I write. You are allowed to do that? I thought.  It was my first time seeing a rule breaking writer.  He wrote everything in lower case letters.  Being a bit of a rule breaker myself, I loved him instantly.

“let’s live suddenly without thinking…” e e cummings

letter

I started writing when I was nine years old as I described to you before (click here to read) and had steadily been taking in the knowledge of my teachers.  Paragraphs, spelling, diagraming sentences, proper pronouns and tense.  I spent my time at the park on the weekends feeding the squirrels and writing poetry.  I never had a tremendous amount of friends so I had plenty of time to write and dream and befriend the squirrels.  I was able to take the ABAC format of a poem and discard it.  Some poems all rhymed, some not at all.  Wisps of thoughts and dreams, and especially symbolism, which is my favorite literary tool, came to life on paper.  I used symbolism heavily in the poem I wrote for yesterday’s blog post.  A direct parallel.

Later in high school I learned I could get away with making up words and no one was the wiser.  Written just right, it appeared to be a proper word and the meaning was evident so it was overlooked.  Still today, in this blog you may find made up words that really ought to be real words.

Then college came later.  An English major with too much imagination doesn’t do as well as one would think.  You must wright like THIS.  No emotional connection to one’s writing.  No clichés.  No….I dropped out and became a writing, teaching herbalist.  After twenty years of writing, I didn’t need a professor to tell me that I was writing all wrong.

letters

There is no wrong way to write.  It is art.  A few people have told me they wish they could write a blog.  It is free.  Do it!  Writing helps to clarify our thoughts, helps us learn, helps us see things in new lights, helps us reach out to other people.  Not just squirrels.  Write about things you know.  That is one of the best pieces of advice I received from a teacher.  Mrs. Ling was ever patient with us freshmen.  We learned sign language and passed notes and talked in class the entire time.  But even with all the distractions, I learned a great deal on how to write successfully from her.

Don’t want to use capital letters?  Fine.  Don’t want to speak in proper tense, want to make up words, want to use clichés?  Fine.  Just write.  It is one of the freest activities for the mind and spirit one can find.

In honor of this, I invite you to write a poem in the comments.  We’ll call it a contest, but it is an expression.  And everyone is a winner.  I will create a basket of goodies from my farm as the prize for the one that speaks to me personally the most.  Write away!