The Rules

I have been told to never
open a story with weather and
I have always asked why.
Does it lead to cliché?
Sometimes my morning opens with
weather and I move through
the story of my day from that beginning.
Why can’t I use it to start
something I’m making up,
something I’m creating for my
own amusement and, if I’m fortunate,
somebody else’s amusement as well?

The answer, of course, is that
I can begin a story, poem, novel,
podcast, song, essay, rant, whatever,
with weather in any way I choose.
The only risk I run is that I
may be judged as an incompetent amateur
by those who love to judge,
who are affronted by my demonstrated
ignorance of The Rules.
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
“The soft damp ground was damp and soft.”
“The wave separated her bathing and birthday suits.”

Okay. I get it. Sort of.
To paraphrase Aldous Huxley,
The Rules are a frame of reference to
conform to or depart from.
I prefer to think of them as suggestions
that can help us navigate the tricky
currents that mask imagination.
The Rules are everywhere,
in writing, in music, in society,
even in our own iconoclastic hearts.
Yes, we all have our own Rules.
It takes courage to both follow and ignore.


(glasses from; boy from

About Jim Stewart

Writer at Butt in Chair
This entry was posted in Conversation, memory, Morning, Poem, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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