Defeated … by the ballad

Apparently there is just something about ballads that I cannot write. Day 25 of the napowrimo had an exercise to write a ballad, and I just couldn’t do it. There is something about the rolling, rhyming lines of the ballad that I couldn’t do. Not that I can’t rhyme. I have written quite a few rhyming things in the past and all of them seemed to work fine. But the ballad seems an insurmountable obstacle.

Oddly, this isn’t the first time that this has happened recently with a ballad. I’ve also been working through exercises from Stephen Fry’s excellent ‘The Ode Less Travelled’, a book I would absolutely recommend to beginning or even advanced poets everywhere. What is an advanced poet exactly? I’m not sure. But anyway. There was an exercise in that book to complete a ballad started by Stephen, and I couldn’t do that either. I’d written one once before (done the same exercise) and all that kept popping into my head was the lines I’d already written. Clearly there is something about the ballad that drives one towards insanity, or at the very least, non-productivity.

So I shall end this quick post with a question or two. Have you ever run into a block when writing something, especially a ballad? Do you have any advice for me writing ballads? And finally, what on earth is your appendix for anyway?


2 thoughts on “Defeated … by the ballad

  1. Weirdly, my stumbling block is free verse. I can’t seem to ever get the balance of establishing a rhythm without reverting to rhyme.

    I guess my advice— probably worthless — is to have a tune in your head and see if you can match it’s rhythms. Like, I dunno, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” maybe? 🙂

    I actually one wrote a poem with the “Red and Black” song from Les Mis stuck in my head. I still can’t read it without matching it to the tune (sans chorus).

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