A wonderful poet, Daniel Ari, honored me with his invitation to participate in the Virtual Blog Tour. And if you’re not familiar with Daniel’s poetry, you owe it to yourself to pay his blog and his blog tour post a visit. Actually … many visits.
Wait. Where are you going? I didn’t mean for you to visit him right this very minute. You have to at least pretend to read my post first.
Okay, now that I’ve recaptured your attention, I should probably explain the concept behind the Virtual Blog Tour. As best as I can figure out, it’s a method of introducing our readers to other bloggers we admire. Every participant answers the same quartet of questions about his/her writing process. And, in theory at least, we all gain some new readers.
So, on to Question 1: What am I working on?
In theory, I’m pulling together three different humor books: a limerick collection, a humor column collection, and a third book that’s so hard to describe, it’s unlikely to ever happen.
Aside from my books-in-progress, I write tons of limericks every week. Okay, maybe not tons, but A LOT! I also write light verse in other forms, even sneaking humor into haiku. (Of course when I write funny haiku, I get yelled at for not calling them senryu.)
Additionally, I spend a good chunk of time running a weekly limerick contest: Mad Kane’s Limerick-Offs. You can always find the current contest here and the most recent winners here. (Everyone’s welcome to participate both here on my blog and on my Facebook page.)
Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, for one thing, it’s written by an oboist turned lawyer turned humor writer. And for another, I stretch the boundaries of limericks by writing them about every topic imaginable: marriage, politics, taxes, death, petty aggravations, serious problems, etc., in a tone which varies from bawdy to satirical to serious, to silly — frequently writing multi-verse limericks. And if I want to be extra hard on myself, I sometimes even attempt acrostic limericks.
By the way, although I post most of my limericks on this blog, I have a second blog reserved for political limericks. Why a separate Political Madness Blog? Because many readers who enjoy this blog, hate my politics. Separate blogs help limit the bloodshed.
Question 3: Why do I write what I do?
Like most writers, I write what I write because I have to. There was a period when I had to write humor columns. Next there was a period when I had to write a satirical George W. Bush diary and political song parodies. And right now I seem to be in my have-to-write-limericks period.
(There was also a 14 year period when I had to write legal briefs. But trust me, you don’t want to hear about that.)
Question 4: How does my writing process work?
I’m always writing limericks — often at inconvenient times, like while showering … or sleeping. Unfortunately I have an awful memory, and can’t trust myself to remember anything. So jotting down ideas immediately is key. Deciphering those notes? Another matter altogether.
While much of my limerick inspiration seems to arrive out of the blue, I’m always actively on the hunt for limerick ideas. I make a point of doing lots of daily news reading, headline scanning, and visiting “what’s trending now” on Twitter, Facebook, and sundry search engines.
I read several political sites a day in my quest for politicians to mock and political issues to have fun with. I also check out several sites specializing in oddball news items, as well as Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, and other possible sources of quirky news items that might inspire me. (Dave Barry’s blog is an unusually good source of such items.)
Limerick inspiration often comes from stories about silly lawsuits, oddball inventions, strange holidays, and weird trends.
Family members, especially my husband Mark, can be a constant source of humor inspiration. (Fortunately Mark enjoys being the subject of limericks and humor columns.)
If I’m really lucky, a limerick just comes to me whole cloth. When that happens, it’s just a matter of writing it down and doing a quick edit. But other limericks present more of a challenge, especially when it comes to news-oriented and political limericks, where I have to pack a lot of info into the limerick and still follow the rules and make readers laugh. (Speaking of rules, you can find my article on how to write limericks here.)
I often start with a single line — either the first line or the last. And in framing that line I usually try to end it with a word that has lots of rhymes. After all, the more rhyme word choices I have, the better the odds of my managing to polish off an amusing limerick.
What happens when I can’t make a limerick work? I add it to an ever-growing digital document jam-packed with hundreds of limericks (and partial limericks) I can’t bear to give up on. And often, months later, I manage to rescue some of them. On the other hand, many have been languishing in that file for years, taunting me to fix or delete the damn things.
I should probably mention some tools I find handy: Rhymezone, while far from perfect, can be very useful. The Syllable Dictionary is helpful as well. And then there’s the wonderful Memidex Dictionary which, among other things, has an excellent audio component. I can’t imagine how I ever survived without it.
So that’s it for my answers to the Virtual Blog Tour questions. At this point, I’m supposed to recommend three other poet bloggers who promise to answer the same four questions. But alas, everyone I invited (1) had already participated in this tour; (2) didn’t feel they had the time to commit to the tour; or (3) didn’t feel they could persuade three other poet bloggers to participate.
However, if you’re still hungering to be introduced to other limerick writers, please do check out my weekly Limerick of the Week Posts. While, most of the weekly winners don’t blog, they’re a funny group of limerick writers you’re sure to enjoy.
(Cross-Posted from my other blog: Mad Kane’s Humor Blog)