Thursday, 20 September 2012

Comic 1110 - Click and Drag

Any print comic you care to name
Is limited by its own frame
But webcomics ain’t
Subject to that constraint;
I wish limericks could do the same, but they are governed by quite rigid rules about line length, scantion and rhyme scheme which can’t really be broken without compromising the integrity of the piece. If you want an impossibly tall tower, or a balloon ride, or a warren of underground tunnels, you can't just extend the format to include them - you either have to find a way to work them into the syllables available, or leave it for another time. If I had the space, I could write about rainbows playing hide and seek in the spray from waterfalls tumbling into forest pools, or playful mole-eating kobolds tapping secrets into your dreams by night. I could zoom out to reveal a beachy shoreline stretching hundreds of miles in one direction, and mysterious crags disappearing away in the other, and every cave would be home to sad, pale, blinking eyes, and every grain of sand would be the key to another universe. Inland, people would be working and talking and playing and relaxing and arguing and making up again, all those things that people do, and some of them would write their own poetry too, each of which could be as endless as mine around them, and richer and more full of delights, and some would actually rhyme properly and contain original metaphors. And as the seasons changed and the world spun around, the limerick would go on and on and on, turning corners and throwing up bumps in the road and bursting out into splashes of colour at the most unexpected times. But I can't do any of that - or at least not all at once. I recognise the limitations of my chosen form, on paper, online, or anywhere, and they must be observed. Sometimes the best that can be hoped is to raise a single half-smile, sometimes there might be more, sometimes an idea might crystallise and stay in your head for some while. Sometimes the poem will be forgotten as soon as it's read, or not even finished. The writer's job is to make a virtue of constraint, just as the artist uses the picture frame as an essential part of the composition. But it's only natural to yearn, occasionally, to step outside the frame and frolic in the fields beyond.

Original comic here.

No comments:

Post a Comment