Pal Scott (of Landscape Cycling fame) just "tagged" me in some kind of blog game I'd never heard of before. Scott 'splains it thusly:
"Pick up your nearest book and go to page 123. Find the fifth sentence, and post on your blog the next three sentences. Acknowledge who tagged you, and then tag five more people."
I'm sitting quite close to my collected poems of the late, great Shel Silverstein, so I'm grabbing a tattered copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends. And being a bender of writerly rules, I'm going to find the third stanza (which is, coincidentally, five lines long) and post that. Hey, I got the five and the three in there, right? And the third stanza is where the master put the punchline anyway:
Double-Tail Dog, by Shel Silverstein
He cannot bite, he'll never bark or growl,
Just scratch him on his tails, he'll find it pleasing.
But you'll have to take him out
For twice as many walks,
And I'll bet that you can quickly guess the reason.
I wonder how many writers can reach back into the memory banks and pull out that one author who really lit the fuse for them? I know I can. Shel Silverstein was the guy. His words were so milk-snorted-out-the-nose fun to read, I just knew that he must have been having an absolute ball when he wrote them down. His writing was joyous, poignant, sad, hilarious, elevated, base, thought-provoking, and just as accessible to 6-year-old me (I was a freak-savant reader, but more on that another day) as it is to me today, three decades later. And when I'm absolutely on my best game -- those rare writing moments where I make myself laugh out loud or suck in my breath -- I think, "That must be how he felt."
Now I'm obligated to tag five more people, but I don't know anyone to tag -- and it feels vaguely like a chain letter. So if you're reading and want to play along, post your responses as a comment here. I know I have some voracious readers and excellent writers (I'm looking at you, Stevens!) in my audience of four, so show me what you've got.
I'm also making up my own game, just to wreak my petty vengeance (bwaa haaa haa haaa!!) on Scott. Everyone please go over to Scott's blog (remember, it's Landscape Cycling), read until something he's written sparks a song lyric for you (the more annoying and mind-sticking the better) and post those lyrics as a comment. It's a variation on something I try to do to him as often as possible on the mailing list where we met.