After Theodor Seuss Geisel completed his book about the
hatted cat, using only 236 first grade vocabulary words, his publisher Bennett
Cert said, “I bet you can’t do it in 50.”
That is, he bet that the Seuss-Meister could not create a
story using only 50 distinct words.
Well, the good doctor took Bennett up on his offer, saying
something like – “Fifty bucks says I can, Sam I am!”
And the rest is Green Eggs and Ham history.
I hear that Bennett never paid up.
But considering that Green Eggs and Ham has been one of
the best-selling children’s books of all time, Teddy never complained.
Obviously, there are two lessons here…
First of all, restrictions lead to higher levels of creativity.
In fact, research has
shown that imposed limitations boost creative thinking because they force
folks to work outside of their comfort zones.
And second – never make a bet with your publisher and expect
to get paid.
Consider yourself enlightened on both counts.
PROMPT: Pick a limiting word
limit, 50 or 100 words say, and create a complete story.
And because I’m sure you’re dying to know, Seuss’s 50 were:
a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox,
goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not,
on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train,
tree, try, will, with, would, you.