Borrow creative rhythm from children’s book authors to launch your imagination.
I grew up with the rhyming and storytelling genius of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, and the collected fairy tales and nursery rhymes of Mother Goose. I lived those stories in my imagination, and I welcomed the characters as my childhood friends.
I admire how these authors play with language and use few and choice words to create such absurdities. I find the surreal humour hilarious, especially when encountering the little truths displayed in each of these far-fetched tales.
Although Silverstein, Seuss and Mother Goose were mainly defined as children’s book authors, their stories were not only for children. The absurdist humour is very much appreciated by adults as we seek out ways to make fun of ourselves, go beyond our conventional learned beliefs and behaviours, and finally, to make sense of our own emotions.
Find Your Own Inner Rhythm in the Rhymes
Like these great writers, I also like to play rhyming games and invent words, and sometimes, just for kicks, I will rewrite those beloved childhood poems using my own words, rhymes, and characters.
Today I was inspired by the Mother Goose poem “There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe.”
You’ll see my rendition, titled “There Was A Young Woman Who Lived On The Moon.”, is sprinkled with its own truths.
Creative Constraints as Inspiration
This method of using existing content as creative constraints launches the creative process. Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham using creative constraints. On a bet with his editor, he wrote the story using only 50 words.
The 50 words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
Give Yourself a Creative Challenge
Go ahead, try it! Using this list of 50 words as inspiration, launch your own short story or poem.
I enjoy sharing the creative space with the greats that came before me. For me, that’s often children’s book authors and musical theatre composers and lyricists. For you, it may be songwriters or painters. Whomever you admire, and whatever you fancy, draw upon that creative energy and creative genius as inspiration to make your own creative transformations. What I am trying to say, in a nutshell, is go ahead and Steal Like An Artist.