Pact and Peoria

There was a young girl from Peoria
Whose name was Regina Victoria.
Said she with a sigh,
“It is certain that I
Should reside at the Waldorf-Astoria.”

I’ve made a pact: I will write for at least forty-five minutes each morning before going on-line to check e-mail.

When I start with e-mail, a message leads to a blog to a website to a who-knows-where, and before I know it, I’m surfing.

Surfing and writing aren’t the same thing.

Surfing involves the muscles of one index finger.

Writing involves the muscles of the brain.

Surfing results in a little burst of dopamine at every click.

Writing drains the dopamine right out of you.

I’ve never heard of anyone having surfer’s block or surfer’s anxiety.

You see where this is going.

Pacts normally involve at least two people. Mine, however, involves only me. Consequently, after two days, it’s already getting loose at the seams.

This morning, for instance, before I could open the file wherein lives my budding novel, I remembered McGill Rhyming Dictionary. I downloaded the program–free!–several weeks ago but never installed it.

Why I thought of it today, I have no idea. Just lucky, I guess.

Anyway, I found where it was hidden and installed it. Then I decided to take a peek and see what it looked like.

It looked pretty good, so I decided to see how it works. I clicked all the little icons and admired all the little bells and whistles–it has a hyperbolic thesaurus, plus Wikipedia, plus Wikisomethingelse, plus both proper and common nouns, plus context, plus rime schemes, plus syllable count, plus line numbers…

So I decided to try it out.

At the end of forty-five minutes, I had written three limericks. One of them is at the top of this page.

I’m not going to share the other two. They are perfectly nice, respectable verses. But I do have a reputation to uphold.

I e-mailed them to some friends as evidence of my industry. One suggested a new project: Kathy’s Limerick Blog.

I hate to say it, but I’m tempted. Some people write a haiku a day. I could write a limerick a day.

Two more lines than a haiku. More syllables. The added pressure of rime. But the extra work would be balanced by the fact that when writing a limerick, I know when I’m finished.

Haiku are different. Airy, elusive. I can have the arithmetic exactly right but still feel that something needs fixing.

That’s not a good feeling.

I don’t know yet about the new blog. It would be smart to forget it.

Because limericks are as addictive as e-mail.

I’d just end up needing a new pact.

4 thoughts on “Pact and Peoria

  1. Loved the limmerick.. I read e-mail,(sometimes I get ideas for my blog from them), blog, then walk Maggie (she likes to sleep in but sometimes I have to walk her before I finish my blog), then write on my book for two hours, then take a long walk. Well at least that’s my goal for every day. I usually get the first three done but life has a way of interferring with the rest.
    Pat Bean


    1. You’re smart to blog early. I blog late and then race the clock to get posted. But I’m driven by deadlines, more’s the pity.

      Life does have a way of intruding. I keep reading that we don’t have to let it redo our schedules, but I don’t think that’s always true for women.

      Maggie sounds like a boon companion. I’d love to have a dog to walk but cats are all I can manage where I live. And they definitely don’t walk.


  2. Ha! This one made me laugh. I still write like a journalist, with about six tabs open in my browser, each with a different page of reference or text. But soon I hope to start writing like you. Stories.

    When you write about family and Texas and situations: when you range around the library you used to rule: it really is entrancing. Well worth that 45 minutes


    1. I keep the online thesaurus and dictionary open. I am a bear of very little vocabulary.

      But you do write stories. I wish you would write more about your teaching, but I supposed that would not be a responsible move at this point. Macaulay, however, is a marvelous character. And Big Al. And your husband’s lunch order…now, that’s a whole romance in itself.


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