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Greetings all! All Fools’ Day or April Fools’ Day is a day for mischievous yet lighthearted prank-playing. In honor of this day, I’d like to share a playful limerick with you. As you know, a limerick is a five-line poem with a specific rhyming format. Limericks may be witty, satirical, or sometimes obscene in a humorous way. This four-stanza poem started off with the first stanza written by Cleveland W. Gibson, a talented British author. Following his lead, the other three were written by me.

Meet the Toff

From London Town came the Toff,
A man who had the WhoopingCough,
Up came his guts every day,
Too pale to talk, nothing to say,
Then he sneezed-BANG- and his leg fell off.

There was a gal named Sandy
Her drawings were quite dandy
Cleve wanted Toff
With his leg flung off
But no pen was handy.

Cleve persisted, please draw this fellow
He can be red, green or even yellow
Don't be shy
Just tell me why
You can't sketch Toff sallow?

Sandra shook her head no
She had no scanner ready to go
Instead she wrote a poem
And sent it to Cleve's home
Hoping he'd accept the poem and let the sketch go!

The poem is interesting and funny because it reveals not only the character of Toff, but the personalities of and exchange between Cleveland and myself. For example, it reveals the fact that I draw, Cleveland’s persistence that I draw Toff, my refusal, and decision to write a poem instead which refers back to the limerick itself.

This is an exercise or game you can play with your fellow writers. It can be done in a poem format where each person contributes a stanza. Or it can be done in a writers’ circle where each person writes the first paragraph of a story, hands the page to the next person and he or she writes another section and so on until the stories are finished. I recommend no more than six or seven sections per story otherwise it gets too complicated. The final entries should wrap up each storyline.

It’s important to stress there’s no right or wrong in this game. But you are bound to get a few smirks or laughs.

So under the topic of games, what is my idiom of the month? “To stay ahead of the game” is important in writing. Writing is a competitive market. Knowledge of current events and continually educating yourself keeps you sharp and in top form to write. Newspapers are not only great sources of information but also generate emotional responses and intellectual opinions. I would say watching certain television shows or movies can influence the way you write. Be a thinker first, then go and write.

Early in my writing, I wrote several science fiction stories, but soon I realized my plots were not original ones but common ones. In retrospect, doing some research would have gone a long way. Reading is an important part of developing your craft because it keeps you up to date on what’s been covered before and expands your perspective.

By using your library card or going online, you can research a topic before forging into writing a piece. Check for accuracy of your information. Find out interesting facts. Look for a new angle.

As I close, I’d like to thank Cleveland for allowing me to share his poem. I recommend his book Moondust, a collection of suspenseful surreal stories and Billabongo, his fantasy novel. He creates intriguing plots and his writing is smooth and entertaining to read. Please check out my review of his work under Book Reviews. By the way, he’s a member of litdotorg too.

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The following comments are for "Musings: by Sandra Yuen MacKay"
by sandra

Musing(On All Fools Day)
Hi Sandra
What a fantastic day on which to write an article. I liked what you wrote, the funny stuff and it made me smile thinking a whole day was devoted to us Fools. I'm in there , counted amongst all the others in the world as one who likes the light heartedness of reading , writing about something funny. In your case, you've written the article and gone into the musing stuff. Not an eas thing to do. But you carried it off well.
Writing something funny I think is doubly difficult because we can't know for sure what we write is funny. Only time will tell and those belly laughs of those around us.The belly laughs, reminds me with Easter coming and all those chocolate eggs about I'll have to do more exercise to burn up the calories. A fact anyway. Which brings me to a point in your article.
It acceptable to exercise our body but equally important is the need to exercise our mind. If we think only from A to B then we miss out on the excitement of jumping over obstacles and moving from say A to D and then to G in one fell swoop. Anything that stretches our thinking process has to be for our good.
The modern writer needs to write more than he ever shows, needs to boost his daily word count by writing all the time. In his diary, notes to himself ,notes on old stories. In fact he needs to write notes everywhere.
The limerick I wrote is a bit of silly fun. The emphasis is fun and it is like anything else an emotion. If we feel humoured in what we read we soften and feel better. Good humour puts the reader in a relaxed state of mind. I love the limerick and I love watching the Marx Brothers on film. Every aspect of humour has its place and a writer needs to build it into his life of writing.
Doing the exercise is the way out. When we play around with the limerick it teaches us to write within certain constraints. It's the same with word limits. And the secret is do do it as often as possible.
Of course there are benefits . We sow. We reap. We read .We write. That's the very nature of the beast.
And when it comes to an audience why not here? I've had e-mails from many people who shared my interests in a variety of topics. I've noticed my own interest has been sparked by what other writers do.
I can't forget a particular writer who bubbled over with her success at being noticed by a publisher. I guess enthusiasm can be catching. I must go an catch some from that writer who stopped by to say hello and started me thinking.
There are lots of articles and writers in this world but for two minutes I'm giving Sandra my sole attention for writing this article. Keep on Musing. You are doing a good job.
10 out of 10 is my rating.

( Posted by: Cleveland W. Gibson [Member] On: April 6, 2009 )

Thanks for your insightful comments!

I agree that reading other's work or hearing their successes spurn myself on to try harder, overcome writer's block and keep practicing until I have something worthwhile.

Encouragement from other writers goes a long way.


( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: April 6, 2009 )

@ Sandra and everyone
Writers are envious, narcisistic creatures.

We're so wrapped up in ourselves and our creativity, and we think our thoughts and musings are so wonderful, that we spend hours putting them on paper. For, surely, everyone wants, no, needs, to read what we have written. Our words make the world a better place.

We are envious of others who write and publish their words, because other people are reading what they wrote, and while those pieces get a reader's attention, ours sit fallow, waiting to be seen.

But that's good, because the envy fuels the narcissism (am I spelling that right -- I don't think so), and before long we are in front of our computers and notebooks, putting more of our wonderful thoughts on paper . . . because they NEED to be seen and read. They make the world a better place.

We're a crazy lot!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: April 6, 2009 )

Ha! Obsession can be a good thing! Combined with a compulsive need to write and one has the makings of a book.

Crazy? I certainly hope so, as it opens the door to real creativity.


( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: April 6, 2009 )

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