WCDR Summer Slam

I was struck by a whim that overtook my better judgement and caused me to register as a competitor in the Writers Community Of Durham Region (WCDR)’s Summer Slam.

Now you have to understand, poetry and I don’t see eye to eye. It’s a love hate relationship, I love to hate poetry and… well I guess it’s just a hateful relationship. I suspect it stems from the fact that I just don’t ‘get’ it. I don’t mind reading some poetry, Dr. Suess, Hallmark cards, you know, stuff that rhymes and doesn’t make me think. But I’ve probably told you this before. See that’s the great thing about a short memory, the stories are always new.

The thing is, I’ve actually written poetry before and had it published. Ok, so the high school newspaper hardly has global recognition, but that erotic poem about a snowmobile was class A stuff. Seriously I think it was only popular because of the double entendre it was liberally laced with. To think, they actually thought it was about having sex.

I’ve also been roped in to writing the poetic connecting pieces for a thank-you gift from the Novel Approach class to the teachers, Sue Reynolds and James Dewar. As well, I wrote a sonnet for the Advanced Creative Writing class through Durham college for the very same teachers… I’m sensing and evil poetic undertone here.

And finally, in my infinite wisdom, I made not one but two of the characters from my novel Echoes poets. So I had to write a poem each for them.

Maybe because I view poetry with a quirked eyebrow of scorn, I don’t think what I’ve written feels anything but contrived.

Don’t get me wrong, just because of my tumultuous relationship with poetry, I don’t think writing would be the same without it. In fact I would go so far as to say it is one of the foundation blocks from with all writing stems, consciously or not.

I know for a fact that it has enriched my descriptions and my word structure, again thanks to those same teachers… Hey wait a minute, I think I’m being brainwashed.

All that aside, Monday night I have to read a short piece that started out as an exercise in changing my author’s voice, instigated by Ruth Walker‘s course Write On, and ended up being heard as a free verse poem. There will be 19 other contestant of which only seven move on.

I’m nervous. My wife and friends are sure that my inner ham (ok, maybe no so inner) will carry me through. I’m afraid they’ll see through my flimsy guise and see that I don’t actually know what I’m doing. That I have no idea how to make a poem deep and when , on the rare occasion it does happen, how I did it.

Mostly, I’m afraid I’ll sound like the fuzzy bunny marshmallow stuffing game, muffled and mumbled.

Wish me luck, Doc.


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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5 Responses to WCDR Summer Slam

  1. Lisa Llamrei says:

    In my present circumstances, I won’t say “break a leg”, but GOOD LUCK!

  2. Dave Jones says:

    Hey – slap that ham with a little hot mustard and go for the gusto!!

  3. Dale Long says:

    Thanks guys! It was agreat experience. I froze. I had all the stage presence of a block of wood. Thankfully they liked the poem. So high marks for the poem, low marks for my peformance. I’ll do better next time for sure. 7.7/10 from the judges. Not good enough for a top seven but damn good for my first time.

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