Posted by: Lisa | April 28, 2012

Breaking the Rules

Does it bother you to see people breaking rules?  One time, when I was working in the fitness center, one of the members (a grown adult) came into the office to tell me another member was talking on her cell phone while working out – a posted “NO-NO” according to our rules.  He wanted me to tell her to stop talking on the phone or take the conversation outside the fitness center.

I politely reminded the woman of our rules.  She apologized and said a call had come in, so she took it briefly.  The other member said, “NO, she’s been the one calling out.”  I refused to get in the middle of the situation.  I purposely choose not to work with children because I don’t want to deal with childishness.

However, there’s another aspect to rule breaking.  The Catholic Church has a lot of rules and regulations (in addition to commandments and dogmas).  The news media like to point out there are many Catholics who refuse to follow certain rules, regulations and dogmas.  (I’m leaving out the commandments because those apply to all Christians, and as we know, all Christians break them in the course of being human.)

Some Catholics have no problem breaking certain rules and regulations while still considering themselves Catholics.  That may be fine for them, but it doesn’t work for me.  Once I realized I couldn’t follow all the rules and regulations – because I disagree with them – and I didn’t believe most of the dogmas, I had to leave.  Why stay?  I’m not really one of “the club” anyway.

Here’s the amusing part about rule breaking:  Since I started writing formal poetry, I’ve discovered there are poets who claim to write formal poetry while breaking the established rules for such poetry.  I don’t get it.  Maybe I’ll get it eventually.  But to me, why write formal poetry if you’re going to break the rules?  Just write free verse, which is complex in its own way.

At this point, I’m loving formal poetry because I like the challenge of being creative while remaining within the structure of the form.  The demands of the form open my mind in unexpected ways (unlike the Catholic Church, whose rigid structure merely stifles – for me).

I’ve heard that once a poet has mastered the formal structure, then breaking the rules becomes an expression of such mastery and creativity.  I don’t know yet.  It still sounds like a cop out at this point, but I’m being open-minded about the whole experience.  Perhaps I’ll be breaking the rules sooner than I imagine.

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