Down by the No Water River

Whenever I have a new story or poem to write, the first thing I do is settle down with a pen and a pad of paper (they still make those!) and call my very imaginative and creative husband to my side. Then we brainstorm, grabbing every out-there idea that comes into our heads until we have a list of thirty or so idea nuggets, titles, characters, scenarios, and snippets.

Lizard Lou (poems) by Renee LaTulippe and Marie Rippel
“Lizard Lou: a collection of rhymes old and new” by Renée LaTulippe and Marie Rippel

It was during such a brainstorming session — this one for the book of poems Lizard Lou — that my husband came up with the title “No Water River,” and I was hooked. I knew I had to write a poem called “Down by the No Water River,” and that it had to be about a fantastical place where you could meet anyone and see anything, a place where everything could happen. I settled down to work…and that poem just would not come out. I teased and cajoled and commanded and got downright ornery, but that poem refused to be written. Weary and disgusted, I closed the notebook and threw it in a drawer.

Six months later, when I decided to start a videoblog to share some of my kids’ poems and picture book reviews, I wracked my brain to come up with a title for it, a snappy name that meant something to me. And of course, while out on a long nature walk with a friend, I finally remembered the title that had been silently mocking me for ages from its dark hideaway. Yes, the time had come to write that poem. And that poem would be my first post on my new blog.

It’s been another six months. I still don’t have that poem. It is the most stubborn poem I have ever not met. I’ve wheedled, I’ve whined, I’ve thrown tantrums, I’ve accused my husband of planting stagnant ideas in my head just to see me squirm. And all I’ve learned from my troubles is that


At least not right now, and at least not for this first post. So I’m forging ahead without it, kicking sand in its face, acting all nonchalant like I just don’t care. Because even if I don’t have that poem yet, I have the spirit of it…

a playground for the imagination.

And that’s what No Water River is all about.

Or will be. The words will eventually come. I’ll replace this post with my long-awaited poem, and then I’ll invite you to sit with me, Down by the No Water River, and imagine the possible.