Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
The pun nowadays is often relegated to the headline, as when the Saints won the Super Bowl:
One of my favorite puns of all-time appears in Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall.” Well, actually there are two favorites. It begins:
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
And of course that “something that sends the frozen-ground-swell under it” is Frost. Later, Frost writes this:
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
And of course the pun there is at the end: …to give a fence.
There’s a game-like quality to the pun, and I love that about puns. Recently, in writing about a professor in a Catholic college with an office full of electrical cords, I had some fun with the none/nun and a cord/accord puns. So that’s the therapy for today: Add some pun to your work, if you’re game, and see if at least it doesn’t bring a smile to your face. Do it every day, and make it write/right/(a) rite.
Added later: Also, puns (more subtle than the Daily News headlines) can make for an interesting title. Think of the different meanings of “mending” in Frost’s “Mending Wall,” for example. I recently wrote a flash, titled “Out,” about a depressed character who got himself out of the house during a snow. At the end, he’s pretending to slide into bases (as in baseball) and looks up for a sign. The title “out” has a different meaning within this baseball context.
For further reading, check out FlashFiction.Net’s suggested readings of flash fiction and prose poetry collections, anthologies, and craft books, by clicking here.