This Is Just To Say

There's a lot to write about, but I'll save it in order to make room for something light and fun. Last week's (radio) episode of This American Life was entitled "Mistakes Were Made." Basically it was about people who apologize without really apologizing at all. For those of you unfamiliar with TAL (you can check the podcast out on iTunes), basically what they do is choose a theme and then tell stories that are somehow about that theme.

So, in this particular episode, host Ira Glass began by reading an aplogy sent by Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY) to Presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) after the former made remarks in a press conference recently about the latter saying, "that boy doesn't need to have his finger on the button." In the letter, Congressman Davis seems to be sincerely apologetic, and though it's a formal lettter, wants to clearly and personally convey this to Senator Obama. After reading the letter, Glass contrasted it with recent "apologies" given by Senator Obama and his rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) ,concerning statements about supposedly bitter Americans clinging to guns and religion and incorrect reccollections about supposed sniper fire, respectively.

After walking his audience through this brief but timely introduction, Glass then introduced the two acts of the program. Act One was the majority of the show and was primarily about the early days of Cryonics. It was devestating, heartbreaking, and extremely interesting all at the same time. Act Two was much shorter by comparison, but is the one that really struck me.

This act was about a poem entitled This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams. The text of this poem is below:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox

and which you were probably saving for breakfast

Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold

I won't do a lot of literary analysis here, but you can probalby see rather easily how this poem fit in with the theme of the show. Evidently, elementary school teachers use this poem regularly to help teach poetry to their students and often have them write a version of their own. In fact, a lot of people do this. If you google "this is just to say parody," you can find all kinds of them. In fact, TAL had many of it regular contributers offer some of their own.

Well, this sounded great to me. I'm always on the lookout for writing exercises that are really different from what I'm used to and that can help challenge my creative impulses (and, if I'm honest, procrastinate working on what I need to be doing). So, I decided to give it a shot and share it with you. Below you'll find some of my own variations. Enjoy!


This is Just to Say

1. Today Is the day I said I Would have it done

Of course It's not Surprise Surprise!

But it Will be Soon I promise

2. I told Your secret To everyone Oops

I guess That means I can't Be trusted

But what You don't know Can't Hurt you

3. "I love you" Meant "I want you" "Trust me" Meant "Take me"

But you know What they say "It takes two To tango"

So why Do you Ignore Me now

4. I'm not What you want I'm not What I could be

So? You just Need to Get over it

How can I Be anything Other than Me

5. I didn't Do it 'Cause I didn't Want to

It is Really Just that Simple

Why not Just Accept It

6. I deleted Your show So I could TiVo mine

I just Couldn't Live Without it

Yours was Pretty Crappy Anyway

Plus they'll Probably Rerun it Again soon

7. I know I told you I would Have it done

But you Know me well How I like To put things off

So you Should have known It would be A little late

8. We've made A few deals In our Time together

If you Do this Then I'll Do that

Of course I fail Even though You don't

But that's To be Expected Right?

9. I am The one Who swiped Your change

I was Thirsty And bought A Coke

This was Not the First time Either

Sorry But I Couldn't Resist

10. I know I've been Distant And rude

But you Have been Driving me Crazy

So selfish So needy So passive Aggressive

You can't Really blame Me then Can you

But I'm Sorry If I hurt Your feelings

You really Shouldn't Be so Sensitive


Now, why don't you give it a shot?