Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Love That #LyricalGenius

Last week, after reading my blog post about not getting to do whatever you want to do, my boyfriend noticed that I had written it in some cadence, with some (accidental) rhyming. He called me a Lyrical Genius. #LovedIt.

Day One of Ten: Would you rather...Sing every word you speak, or always speak in rhymes??

I am a terrible singer. Terrible. Awful. So very bad. I am tone deaf, I can't match pitch, and I rarely know the words to anything but the chorus of the latest Taylor Swift single. I am the girl who loves karaoke bars but will never torment the crowd by picking up the mic - rather I am astonished by those who do. I watched, jaw on the floor, as a guy rapped a full Eminem song last weekend at a bar, without sounding like he had his tongue in a light socket. I love to listen to people who can sing. I even love to listen to my fella and his roommate, who can't really sing. But the singing I do, I do in the shower. By my damn self.

To benefit the rest of the world, and to satisfy the writer in me, I would much prefer to always speak in rhyme.

That said, for being a writer, I always sucked at poetry. It felt restricted. I didn't like to read it or write it, and I certainly didn't want it to be my focus. I remember telling my freshman English teacher that I hated the structure of poetry, the way she was asking me to take my story and conform it into a standard prose, with a certain number of syllables per line. What next, are you going to try and tell me I can begin a sentence with the word and? Yes, I can! I didn't like reading poems; they felt stiff and forced, and it would be years into college before I finally found any appreciation for poets such as E.E. Cummings (probably because in high school I was being force fed Shakespeare, which felt a little like squeezing lemon juice into my eyes).

This same English teacher taught me, though, that in writing, it was acceptable to break a few rules. My poetry doesn't have to conform, it doesn't have to rhyme. No one ever said a poem had to be lyrical or read like a sonnet. If I want it to rhyme, great - but it doesn't have to. One of my favorite writing assignments in this particular English class, was to model a poem of my own life after Walt Whitman's Song of Myself. The assignment was essentially to write a poem about myself. But I wanted to make a point of the structure of his poem, so I took it a step further and wrote in his exact, precise style, line by line. And not only did my teacher love it, but she read it aloud to all of her classes and submitted to some publication somewhere that she was involved in; ironically, as much as I hated being confined as a writer, that was the best poem I ever wrote - and I was confined to Whitman's few hundred words to complete it.

When I write, I write by my own rules. I start sentences with and or but or because. I write with hash tags. I overuse the semicolon. And I don't even feel bad about it.

Because rules are made to be broken.

Needless to say, I prefer to do things I'm good at. I'm a good writer and a terrible singer. So as obnoxious as it may be to look for rhyming words all day every day, I would argue that listening to myself sing all day...would be much worse.