I’d like to complain to myself that these facts are not random, they are all about ME. Which is the same subject.
FACT ONE: The first poem I wrote that I can find is inside a birthday card for my mum. My mum kept everything and I know I was 6 as she has labelled it: Liz wrote this when she was 6.
Mummy I am saing (saying)
I hope youll be glad
your the best mummy
Iv (I’ve) ever had.
The most embarrassing, written as a teenager, contains the words: ‘I made myself trendy’. I’m afraid the rest has recently been lost.
FACT TWO: Which is my favourite poem? It changes quite a lot. But since I was a child I have loved Overheard on a Saltmarsh by Harold Munro. It made goosebumps stand up on my arms then and still does.
My favourite poem for an adult is sometimes Sonnet XVll by Pablo Neruda, and sometimes This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams - I like the poem, and the parodies of it by Kenneth Koch always make me howl with laughter.
FACT THREE: My favourite fish is a Hebrew fish. Did you know that in Hebrew, the word which means fish sounds like our word for dog? Oh yes, my favourite dog is my dog Lola.
FACT FOUR: My favourite two words that rhyme? Who asked these questions? All rhyming words together are wonderful, they make an extra zing in a poem. Got ‘em and bottom are always fun to hear together. And buffoonery and panataloonery are quite exciting and delighting. Danglingly, stranglingly is a bit alarming. Phosphorescing, salad dressing is also alarming in a slightly different way. I think I’d better stop now or I’ll get carried away and start writing...
FACT FIVE: My favourite quotations are:
‘Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read’, possibly by GROUCHO MARX.
‘It takes less time to learn how to write nobly than how to write lightly and straightforwardly’, by FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE.
‘If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it’, by ELMORE LEONARD
‘Be obscure clearly by’, by E. B. WHITE
FACT SIX: Coffee is my favourite hot beverage. No, tea is. No coffee. No, tea. I think I like coffee and tea equally.
FACT SEVEN: Oooh, I love insects. I think they are possibly the most beautiful animals on the planet. My favourite and possibly the most exquisite is the mirror beetle.
FACT EIGHT: The people who make me laugh most include Michael MacIntyre, Steve Martin, Miranda Hart, Reginald D Hunter and David Mitchell.
FACT NINE: My favourite TV programme is Frasier, by a long way. Followed by anything with detectives in.
FACT TEN: My favourite authors include, for adults, Aldous Huxley, John Wyndham, Anne Tyler... for children, David Almond, Jerry Spinelli, Elen Caldecott, Ursula Le Guin, Madeleine L’Engle, E Nesbitt, Andrew Norris and many, many more. Maybe I don’t have a favourite here either, just a long list of wonderful writers.
FACT ELEVEN: You want an obscure fact about myself? That’s tricky as I know everything about me. It’s terribly hard to know what is obscure under these circumstances. I’d have to be someone else to do it properly. Oh hang on! My memory is an obscure fact. Very obscure, even to me. It is not good and I forget a lot of things like what I’m supposed to be doing and what I’ve just done and where I’ve put my glasses. Very hard to find as I can’t see them either when they aren’t on. For this reason I try not to wash my face too often. Another obscure fact! And one more is that I am very bad at maths and cannot reliably be counted on to count.
Why not try writing a poem with the longest rhyming words you can find?