Why rhyme? And why mice?

A lot of people have asked me that (the first question of course), especially because rhyme is not everyone’s cup of tea! But I started writing in rhyme a long time ago, more specifically in letters to my Grandmother and namely about the mice which lived in our house for the best part of a year. The problem got worse and worse so my mum, not wishing to be mean, used those humane traps and placed them in a cabinet under the bathroom sink (where they mainly used to congregate). I realized the problem was more complex than I initially thought when I got home from work one day to find my mum, dad and brother all holed up in our small bathroom, whispering. When I went in they were captivated, watching the mice “play” in amongst the shaving cream and deodorant cans. I left them to it, speechless. The next bizarre occurrence was the lengths they went to to get the mice away from our house without resorting to the “death traps”. Once the humane traps were full my mum would take them to the local churchyard (late at night) and set them free. This “Resident Mouse Relocation Programme” lasted as long as it took for me to tell her that the mice probably got back to our house before she did! I suggested she tie a blindfold around each one and spin them round to confuse them but she weirdly didn’t take my advice. However, strangely, they did decide to start driving to the next village and letting them out in a field. It was a valiant, albeit extreme, attempt on my parent’s behalf to solve their problem without hurting the mice.

However, the problem started to get out of hand. The turning point finally came when we started to notice heavily pregnant mice and baby mice running around. Another “significant event” would be when two mice fell out of the top kitchen cupboard and a third was found in dad’s cornflake box, munching away without a care in the world. So mum admitted defeat and reluctantly resorted to the real traps, although sometimes she would forget to set them once the peanut butter had been applied. Again, she was not amused when I informed her that technically she was putting on an all night buffet for house guests. Eventually though, the problem started to ease and the rest of the mice seemed to flee. Their “Haven” now seemingly a house of horrors.

When I wrote to my Grandmother to tell her our news and to tell her of the mice’s adventures in our house (of course from their perspective) I found that writing it in rhyme was much more fun. She in turn would then write back with further tales of their misadventures and it is something we have kept up to this day. And, in many ways, we have my mother’s resolute kindness and sympathy for our furry friends to thank for that. She was, for quite some time, the “Champion of the Mice” in our household.

Rhyme can give stories another layer; make them more exciting and descriptive. It gives a new rhythm (literally) to a story. I have found that, especially when coupled with fairy tales, rhyme can give a story a new lease of life and make it even more magical and enchanting. As I said before, rhyme may not be everyone’s cup of tea which is fair enough. But I would still recommend you to give it another try – you may be pleasantly surprised!

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