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The Rhyme Doctor

May 15, 2022

I probably started liking poetry and lyrics as an infant and I cherished the rhymes that went with them as I grew into my youth and was later propelled into my adulthood. Now that I am an old man, I look back through the decades and feel a great pride for being known as the Rhyme Doctor for so many years. The Rhyme Doctor? Yes.

The nickname has its early roots in my high school years when I was an aspiring poet. I had studied poetry intensely and learned all of the styles very well. While I excelled at free verse, I was always drawn back to the good stuff that rhymes. Though my friends were rowdy surfers and not the stuff of Rhodes Scholars, I persisted with my poetry. My first poems were published when I was 14 and I received my first check as a writer at the same age. In an attempt to blend my poetry with awkward teenage socialization, I would also make up off-colored lyrics to popular songs at the time. Finding it entertaining, my friends gradually bestowed the moniker Rhyme Doctor on me. It was nothing serious, just an inside joke that seemed to have been shared with half the student body. (Kids are cruel!)

I left high school determined to write the great American novel or at least something damned close to it. The trouble was that I thought in the condensed language of a poet which made it difficult to write anything near the length of a novel. I rectified that problem years later when I began writing both novels and screen plays. But in the interim, I was writing poetry and loving it. To be able to write an entire book in a few stanzas became a specialty. In my university classes I was once again called the Rhyme Doctor because of my scholarly pursuit of poetry and the the fact that I was a nationally published poet.

The poetry finally gave way to lyric writing and song writing as I entered the music business in 1973. I was convinced that I could make the tough transition and I did. In the mid-1970’s, I was making a very good living writing songs and also fixing other’s whose lyrics needed help. In many instances, I found well-written songs that employed faulty or lazy rhyming. Being the doctor of rhyme, I healed many a song. It was during this stint as a fixer that my colleagues in the music business also coincidentally started referring to me once again as the Rhyme Doctor. Although I considered myself more as a rhyme mechanic, after a couple of years I accepted the name wholeheartedly with a great deal of pride. During this time, many people knew me solely by my nickname. For the last 40 plus years I have continued to ply my craft on a daily basis as well as assist those who need the doctor. This doctor is always in.

Why is rhyming so important in poetry and song writing? The answer is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that we like hearing sounds that are similar. It is as natural as the human heartbeat. However, there is a more complex answer. When the human brain hears rhymes, it releases endorphins that feed the pleasure centers of our brains. Simply put, rhyming makes us feel good. Think back to your childhood. Why did you say: “Liar, liar – pants on fire?” Right! It felt good and it was certainly better than, “Liar, liar – pants too short!”

Well over a half a century after publishing my first poetry, I decided to publish an anthology of some of my very early poetry along side that which was written in the last few years. It is presented as bookends to my literary life in a volume entitled Prescriptions from the Rhyme Doctor. Please give it a read. At $3.99 it is very indispensable and inexpensive prescription indeed!

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From → America, Music, Poetry, Writing

5 Comments
  1. Another wow! I did not know that I knew a poet, singer, songwriter, script writer, rhyme doctor, movie star and awesome blog writer (actually I did know awesome blog writer, Allen does it everyday). But I had no idea you were a VIP! Who would have known I would know a VIP? But then again, I know a lot of VIPs. Everyone I meet and know is a VIP. Miracles, each and every one of them. And I am grateful that I didn’t miss the miracles. As an alcoholic, I did not believe I would live beyond 30 years of age. A phenomenal belief many of us alcoholics have shared prior to sobriety. But I am so grateful that I did, because I would have missed all the miracles. The first miracles was when I was introduced to my two daughters, along with the joy (and heartache) of watching them grow into adulthood. Another miracle was the gift of getting clean and sober, along with all the ups and downs that followed. The joy and miracle of watching newly sober friends embrace and struggle with sobriety, some becoming strong advocates, some losing the fight. Thankful for the ability to see all of that life clean and sober. But the greatest miracle I would have missed was the discovery of a true and loving God. A God who would become my best friend, and eventually the “love of my life “, which He still is 45 years later. I can not imagine not waking up and having his presence around me, or enjoying a relationship with a God who has proved over and over again how much He loves me. I love many things in my life today, but none is greater than the love and awe I have for my God. Awareness of life has been so much more meaningful because of that love. And an ability to enjoy so many things, things like the view you, Allen, give many people who could not reach the heights you have reached. And you have chosen to share those views with others. That is a gift. I know, I have greatly appreciated that gift every day. And I am richer because of that. I will continue to enjoy the words you write and share, but not through your ridiculously low priced book, for alas I have joined the poor. LOL, I have suddenly given up my salary to join the ranks of the retired who are ridiculously poor. But I will continue to read your words daily and send back my comments (what happened that all of a sudden I write volumes in the comment section?) to a very special man who shares his wealth. And to him, I say, thank you, Allen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Really great post my friend. You have lived a live so full of accomplishments yet I don’t see you as an old man. I don’t know where that is coming from. You are so accomplished. Loved this post my friend. You are an amazing talent. Hugs to you too. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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