Each year the Poetry Society of Colorado would have their annual contests for members. There were twenty or so contests and I became determined to enter every one every year. Unfortunately for me there was a category for writing a love poem. I wracked my brain for days. Nothing was coming to me. I reread the description. ANY kind of love. Hmmmmm. I could work with ANY. What kinds of love were there? I didn't have to stick with the gushy, gooey romantic stuff that is ordinarily associated with a love poem.
So what was love to me? What examples of love did I note around me? Mother and child. Brother and sister. Father and tools. Humans and pets. My stepmother and housecleaning. I was getting closer. Having opened up alternate definitions of love was having an effect on me. From out the the blue I remember seeing a news story of a moose somewhere back east that had fallen in love with a cow.
Those gears in my head started grinding to loudly that the neighbors were complaining. I didn't need some saccharine tome to love. No indeed. I could go with my true strength in life -- humor! So I set to work. Boy, was this gonna be good. And it was. The resulting poem took second place in the contest.
Check it out here:
©2000 by Laurie Kay Olson
The course of true love makes no excuse –
As was the case with a certain moose.
Though I can’t really tell you how,
He fell in love with a Jersey cow.
In the field where she placidly chewed her cud
He stood as though rooted in ankle-deep mud.
The townspeople tried to remove him in vain.
The harder they tried the more it was plain.
He watched his true love with adoring eyes
While she regarded him with mild surprise.
I’ve heard that those two are standing there yet,
As much in love as two species can get.
The moral of this story is simple and sweet –
Love may be found wherever two hearts can meet.
It is short, to the point, humorous and definitely falls into the category of ANY kind of love. I learned that I can write to just about any topic I'm given as long as I keep my mind wide open to the possibilities and don't just say "Oh, I can't do that!" The truth is that yes, I can. If I am really saying I can't I need to be honest with myself and say "This topic is so intimidating that I choose not to."
Are there topics that I would choose not to write on? Well, certainly there are. I'm not into porn, Goth, punk, heavy metal and so on. I'm not taking some moral stance, I just don't have the background to go there -- not even with lateral thinking.
So before thinking that you can't write about something, take a small step to the right or left and take a look at the topic again. That may be all you need to see the subject in a different way and give you the inspiration to write something wonderful.