The Post Writing Challenge: Diamonds in the Rough

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The Post Writing Challenge: Diamonds in the Rough

Hitchin' on a twilight train...

Ahem. Now that all of you have demonstrated how well – and how quickly  – you can respond to a writing challenge put up by the interim committee folks, it is time for a new Post Writing Challenge. This time, we're going to get musical.

All of us are inspired by music – even if it's headbanger noise like the Prof listens to, or that boring folk-stuff some of the rest of us favour. There's no disputing about tastes. But some singer-songwriters are influential when it comes to our thinking. Which brings us to the Challenge:

Create a work – poem, short story, essay, song lyric, cartoon, photo, drawing, video (or whatever else you can think of that we can share online) – inspired by, and somehow connected to, a line (or two) or stanza of a song by the following influential singer-songwriter:

Neil Diamond.

Yep. Him. I'm told Mr Diamond is 'polarising'. I think that means people either love him or hate him. Let me explain why I fall into the first category1.

Neil Diamond has a lot in common with William Blake. Like Blake, he is underrated, particularly by the fancier crowd. Like Blake, he combines two media beautifully – in Blake's case, words and pictures, in Diamond's, words and music. Like Blake, Diamond's lyrical simplicity often conceals a profounder message. Like, 'You are the words, I am the tune…play me.' Now, don't you wish you'd said that?

To get you started, here is a link to a list of Neil Diamond songs. Pick one.

A few other observations:

  • You do not have to like Neil Diamond to participate in this Challenge. You may parody, mock, or otherwise complain about the man who thinks 'brang' is a verb form. Irritation is also a form of inspiration.
  • DON'T tell us what song you're referring to. Let us guess. That's part of the fun.
  • DON'T be too subtle. If nobody guesses the connection, then it's no fun, either.
  • Just mail the results of your genius to the Post.

Last but not least:

  • THIS ONE TIME ONLY, I'm going to insist you stick to the rules. Material that relates to lyrics by Bob Dylan will be held over for another occasion. I mean it.

So youtube Mr Diamond's oeuvre, or go listen to your CDs, or read the lyrics online. Receive inspiration. Then create.

The usual caveat scriptor applies: We're too cheap for prizes, you only get smileys from the likes of us, there's no deadline, we just publish when we get stuff, yadda yadda.

I'll weave his web of rhyme upon the summer night
We'll leave this worldly time on his winged flight…

Diamonds in the Rough Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

18.07.11 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1True story: When I was a teenager and the song was on the radio, I thought 'Cracklin' Rosie' was about railroading for about three weeks. I know, I blush to confess this.

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