Monday 13 March 2017

Poetry Monday; And, The Results Are In!

It's Poetry Monday! Started by Diane at On the Alberta/Montana Border, and joined by Delores at Mumblings. Join us in writing, or share a poem you like, or just read and enjoy ... or you can cross to the other side of the street and run away. It's all good. Just come back when the danger has receded, eh?

This is a poem I wrote a few years ago based on the writing prompt: "Write a poem that contains only questions."

Is There A Problem?

You want me to do what?
Write a poem that contains only questions?
What kind of a suggestion is that?
Do you realize how silly you're being?
Do you know how hard it is to do?
Do you care?
If you don't care, why should I?
Did you get this idea from "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" *
Why aren't you answering me?
Are you upset with me?
Can't you hear me?
How can I get you to speak?
Will I regret it if you do?
How long can I keep this up?
Would you like to call it quits?
Can I join you?
Can we never do this again?
Can you stop whining now?
Can I apologize now?
Must you cover your eyes and ears like that?
Isn't this the worst poem ever?
Can you prove you wrote a worse one?
Is there a prize involved?
How will I know when I am done here?
Are you as bored as I am?
Why are we still here?
Who thinks I should stop writing?
Are you sincere?
Is it even possible to stop?
What if I never find the right words to finish?
Doesn't everyone want their poem to end with a bang?
Can you believe I think I'm finished?
Can you at least try?
Do you think I should write another poem?
Will you pay me to stop?
How much?
Do you know - ouch! - how much that rotten tomato hurt?

*Note: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" refers to both a short-lived British radio show and its spin-off American improvisational TV comedy. One of the regular skits requires the actors/comedians to converse only in questions - unscripted and unrehearsed. For a Youtube video example, click HERE.

*          *          *

Last Monday, I stated my intention to give up the use of exclamation marks for one week.

It was about as difficult as I had expected. The week is over now, and I have put them back in my pencil case along with my ellipses, dashes, and asterisks, with a big sigh of relief.

Actually, I didn't last the full week. I cheated toward the end.  

The exercise was useful, though, because it raised my awareness of my writing habits. I immediately realized just how much I use exclamation marks. I also realized that I don't always overuse them. If the topic is a serious one, or if I'm writing business-type correspondence, I don't feel the need to use them at all. I also realized that my writing style here is often like my speaking style with friends - relaxed and animated. It's hard for me to express myself in real life without some body language and excited talking, and in my writing I've decided to go back to flinging punctuation around like confetti to convey my enthusiasm.

... Maybe not like confetti. Maybe less than that.

But it is not a crime to use exclamation marks! It might be a crime to use smiley faces, but until the Smiley Face Police come to get me, I'm hanging on to those little guys too.


only slightly confused said...

You have done very well to lower your use of exclamation points. It's not easy to change the way you write. The one and only writing seminar I ever attended was all about NOT doing certain things. It was horrible. To this day I still scan everything I write for the over usage of the word 'that'.
The poem is terrific. It makes me think of my grandies and the non stop questions that pour out of them lol.

Steve Reed said...

That IS quite a challenge, to write only using questions. I must admit, after a while, feeling a bit badgered as the reader! Like OH MY GOD STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS!

Chicken said...

Is this a fun poem or what? I say it is! :-)

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Brilliant poem! Brilliant!
And I'm haning on to both my smiley faces AND my exclamation marks. :)

jenny_o said...

Channeling my inner two-year-old, Delores :)

jenny_o said...

Ha ha! Sorry, Steve :)

jenny_o said...

I see what you did there, Chicken :)

jenny_o said...

Why not, right? :)

dinthebeast said...

Briana is a member of the poetry site AllPoetry, and she posted one of my poems there once. It's called Positive ID:

I am a card in the pack
with which you divine your future.
Be careful where you set me down.

I am a coin in the purse of your life,
Don't squander me for less than I'm worth.

I am a melody that's stuck in your head
Use your hands to let me out.

I am a chisel in the set you use to sculpt your world.
Keep all your tools clean, sharp and ready... also
don't use me for a pry-bar or a punch!

I am deep, still water
in a treacherous rapid that goes on and on.
Don't despair at my unlikeliness and be
swept away to your doom.

I am the teller and I am the tale; world weary
and word weary at the processsion of digressions
devouring theme after theme - and yet still
hidden amongst the words are laughs, frowns,
smiles, looks of astonishment, and more...
Remember to check for those amidst the words as they go by,
before these words go by: The End.

-Doug in Oakland

e said...

Great poem. I hope you have a wonderful week. I'm going to try this poetry exercise and see what I come up with.

jenny_o said...

Excellent, Doug. Thanks for contributing!

jenny_o said...

Yay! I'm glad you're giving it a shot, e. And I hope you share it.

Martha said...

HAHA That was such a fun poem. And who threw that tomato? That is awful.

I've realized that I use exclamation mark a lot on blogs. Not sure why I feel the need to do that but here is my confession :)

jenny_o said...

We are partners in crime, Martha!! Maybe you are like the rest of us who have confessed - an animated talker :)

The poem, on reflection, is about a yard too long :) Maybe some day I will try to edit it.

baili said...

i could not resist laughter while reading your poem and rest writing about exclamations.
nothing is impossible ,may be some day one can get arrested for using exclamation mark .
poetry was way of self expression for me for many years but now it seems to stuck somewhere and i am waiting for breaking up the blockage

John M said...

In school my English teacher taught us to NEVER use an exclamation point!
I wonder what he had against it!
Beats me!

jenny_o said...

I am glad you had a laugh, baili! I am back to using exclamation marks now, but it was a good experiment. I hope you find your poetry muse soon.

jenny_o said...

ha ha

It has its place!