Advent of a whim

Need Poor William say more about the genesis of a whim than this behind-the-levee picture of a scene so pastoral as to make an earth-hardened man shout, "Praise the Lord!"

Need Poor William say more about the genesis of a whim than this behind-the-levee picture of a scene so pastoral as to make an earth-hardened man shout, “Praise the Lord!”

By Poor William
(Clarksdale, Mississippi)

The creation of a written whim is an unusual process. Poor William has never taken a journalism class and possesses little experience writing beyond laboring over a plethora of college papers. Consequently, it has been necessary for him to find his “voice” without the assistance of formal training.

I think he does it “back-asswards,” but he doesn’t often listen to me. Poor William understands that most writers have an idea first and then proceed to flesh it out before finally giving it a title.

When Poor William writes articles under his given name, he writes the story and the editor usually takes the working title and tidies it up before making it fit the allocated space.

The headline also reflects whatever will likely catch the reader’s eye and it should reflect the most important elements in the article.

Whims conceived and penned by Poor William tack—an atypical course of action often zigzagging against the wind—differently than the course taken by most writers.

Poor William begins with a title and rarely changes it throughout the writing process. He writes in the vein of Procrustes, a robber in Greek mythology, who preyed on sojourners on their way to Athens.

Procrustes would offer his victims the opportunity to lie on his magical bed, which he told them would fit any guest. He would then either stretch his guests or cut off their limbs to make them perfectly fit the bed.

Poor William then adds ideas which have been frolicking around his addled brain for a few minutes or days. He usually doesn’t begin penning the whim until about an hour or two before press time.

If the stocky scrivener would begin the written process sooner, his product would likely be improved, but then it would no longer be a whim–a sudden or capricious idea or an arbitrary thought or impulse.

The only prep work Poor William does is to ask his beloved to notate in her handy iPhone the titles which pop into his fractured noodle at all hours of the day and night. Once the title has been conceived, the roundabout thinking and serpentine logic begins.

The intent of the whims, as Poor William has previously written–and yes, I am referring to myself in the third person here, as do too many preachers and politicians, but I do so with much irony and a sardonic grin on my face—is to share interesting quotes, funny thoughts and gestures, vocabulary words not always defined, interesting bits of timely happenings–locally and around the world.

My wife tells folks they could freeze me at any time–meaning getting the ADHD wish-he-was-a-wonder-boy to stop bouncing for a second—and I could write a whim about whatever is on my mind at the time.

Poor William and Mrs. “Not as Poor William” rarely turn on a television, so his input and familiarization with the “reality-obsessed” world we live in is a bit limited, but he does seem to somehow stay abreast of current events.

Poor William does relish pithy quotes from classic movies as well as most excellently crafted words from books, journals and magazines. The Procrustean rub is to meld all the different ideas into a whim–which makes sense to and edifies the readers–as well as facilitating critical thought and hearty chuckles.

Poor William’s musings are imbued with his Judeo-Christian leanings as well as his off-color humor. Those possessing sanctified religious beliefs likely find his humor antithetical to faith, and many who are not religious likely find his faith-based meanderings a bit “too much.”

Abraham Lincoln or P.T. Barnum, depending on conflicted attributions, said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Similarly, some readers “get” Poor William’s Whims all the time and all the readers “get” his Whims some of the time, but all his readers do not “get” his Whims all the time. Such is life, and he is okay with that. He just hopes his musings will make folks think, laugh and love.

I am a pathetically fallen creature who often loses his way, but I want to be a better man as every new day edges me toward eternity.

It is my intent, as long as there is day, to strive to be honest with others and myself when I write. Carpe diem and Lord forgive me!


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