Linsey Gordon had a…hatchet?

So I’ve finished my poem based on the Lizzie Borden “nursery rhyme”.


The Ballad of Linsey Gordon

A Sunday school teacher was Linsey Gordon,
who ran her class like a prison warden.
Though she was filled with the unholy ghost,
she knew her Bible better than most.
Vanilla plain, she was, with a heart as black as coal,
and a hole where there should have been a soul.

Then one day,
feeling rather gray,
tired of her mother’s nitpickings,
she gave her fifty whippings.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her father fifty-one,
adding their remains to the wood chippings–
all with a ho and a hum.

Feeling better for the release,
this woman of candor and caprice,
she sought out her sister, Elise.
When she found her, forty lickings did she give,
and when she saw what she had done,
she gave her brother thirty-one,
while giving her lollipop forty-one.

Fortified now,
with the taste of blood in her mouth,
she gave her puppy thirty kickings,
tired of his incessant yippings.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her kitty twenty-one,
annoyed with her yarn and knittings.

Having run out of live prey,
her gray mood turned black,
and she gave her dolly twenty stickings,
her mophead hair twenty snippings.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her teddy ten and one–
nothing left but but tattered rippings.

Last she came upon the grandfather clock,
chiming in the hall.
Deciding she’d had enough of its tickings,
she hacked it to pieces,
splinters bouncing off the wall.

And in this rhyme, we see a pattern
of Linsey Gordon mellowing,
yellowing as she ages backwards in time,
like a curious case of reverse progeria–
oh, happy day, bloody sublime!



And for those who are interested in the darker versions of popular tales, these links are for you:

Sources of inspiration

Last night, I recalled a writer’s prompt on that sounded like it would make a great short story, and when I went back to find it, I realized Writer’s Digest puts out many prompts that I could springboard from.

The other day, “The Daily Post” (another blog), had a prompt that if you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you tell (in my case) her?  I thought that was very intriguing, and it sparked a 1000+ word short story, a story I can punch up and have on hand for another writing competition.  (I tend to be a sucker for amnesia or time travel plot devices.)

Even just discovering  a new genre (just learned what steampunk was a couple of weeks ago) is enough to spark my creativity.  One thing I would love to do is write a sequel to a well-known book (I already have one in mind–I’d written a part of it years ago for a fanfiction site).  I’d wanted to write a sequel to “Pollyanna”, before I found out a sequel had already been written.

Though I love creating from scratch, it is nice to have something to build on (I call these my boxed cake mix ideas), just to see where an existing idea might lead me.  I have thoroughly enjoyed composing fractured fairy tales and nursery rhymes, though I realized a couple of my verses, meant for children, contain subjects such as gun and drug use.

When I was a little girl and my dad read me “Little Boy Blue”, I’d always thought it a sad story; whenever he got to the part where I knew Boy Blue was going to cry, I’d beg him to stop reading.  I wrote a darker version of the story, which I will share in this post; the one I will be sending to children’s magazines and the like, the word “gun” is replaced with “gum” (as in chewing gum).  I’m also working on a more lighthearted version of the Lizzie Borden rhyme.

What sparked my interest in Lizzie Borden was a book by Mary Higgins Clark, in which a modern-day girl named Liza Barton is compared to the infamous (alleged) axe murderess (I don’t want to give anything away, because the book is worth reading), and, most recently, the Lifetime made-for-TV movie, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe”, which was awful.  Christina Ricci did a great job (even though she looked nothing like Lizzie, she had the creepiness factor), but the music was jarring and didn’t fit the movie at all.  Most TV movies are awful, but there are a few gems out there (“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” and  “Caroline?” being a couple of exceptions).

Inspiration is everywhere.

Little Boy Hugh:  A Fractured Nursery Rhyme

Little Boy Hugh,
go load your gun.
Strangers are coming,
ready to rob and run.
Where is the lad,
who keeps the robbers away?
Why he’s fully armed,
waiting down the road halfway.
Will you go to him?
Oh, no, not I,
for if I do,
he will surely blow me away.