In honor of THE Dr. Seuss, the incomparable Vivian Kirkfield is hosting the second annual 50 Precious Words contest on her blog. Hurry on over to read some short-&-very-sweet stories!
In Vivian’s words:
March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.
I thought it would be fun to try to write a story for kids with ONLY 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! A year has passed…and it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.
My 50-word story began as a rewrite of a purposely bland journey sentence for a lyrical language exercise. When I thought of journeys, I thought about one of my happy places, St. John, USVI, and a favorite hike we’ve done there, to Ram Head, part of the Virgin Islands National Park.
(spoiler alert: this is Francis Bay on the north shore of St John; Ram Head is on the south shore –
I couldn’t find any good photos in my library…)
Now, while Ram Head is a beautiful hike, the name wasn’t quite lyrical enough for the assignment. I took some writer’s license and thought first of Rooster Hill, but it didn’t quite roll off my tongue.
(a favorite blue cobble beach on the Ram Head trail)
Then inspiration erupted and the name rose from my mind like lava turning to stone: Rutabaga Rock was born – an island in my brain.
(Bubbly Pool with outcropping lava rock, Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands)
When I realized that we were no longer hiking but sailing to reach our destination, a certain theme song replayed in my mind with rough weather and a tiny ship tossed and lost.
(traffic jam @ White Bay Beach, Jost van Dyke, BVI, on a not-stormy day)
I completed the sentence rewrite, vowing to revisit the journey to Rutabaga Rock one day.
Voila! That day is here. May I present a sentence-turned-poem:
Journey to Rutabaga Rock – a Voyage in 48 Precious Words
Picnics packed; dingy leaves dock –
Kids depart for Rutabaga Rock.
Winds whip waves, lashing at sail;
Kids’ knees knock as rains transform to gale.
Seas subside; sun shines at last.
Kids debarking – thankful journey’s past.
Picnics soaked! Salty, slimy feasts!
Kids contented – GOATS aren’t picky beasts.