The second portfolio section opened with ballads. Oh dear. Ballads, to my mind, are either old and established, or modern, humorous and stuck in my head without any hope of removal... thus, another piece of writing about the process of writing. Damn.

If all things were appropriate, this would have been scribbled on the back of several beer mats in an intoxicated attempt to block out all of the other ballads I'd ever heard.

Why I Cannot Write Ballads
(to be sung in the key of Pissed Major)

I'm lain in the gutter, neck deep in the shit,
Because all the best ballads already been writ'…
All the singing of wine, racy women and war,
All the hedgehogs that couldn't be buggered at all;
All the poison-pen let'ers, the treasure troves hid,
All the cross-dressing lumberjacks scaring the kids;

There are tunes to slur drunkenly, deep in th' cups
Of a leather-clad beauty—or two—with some luck.
There are words to amuse; there are words to delight,
There are words calcula'ed to touch off a fight.
Such as: All of yon bastards agree on the same:
That a verse upon verse is the lamest o' lame.

So bring out yer dying, yer Shakespeare, yer dead,
Because everything worthy's already been said
All the crimes and the passion, the luck and the fates
An' the love and the anguish, the pain and the hate
And here's to another wry stab at the truth
In a manner untempered, unfain and uncouth—

Yeah, here's to a million more shamblin' refrains,
A million more found and los' moments again;
Conceived and abandoned and tossed out fer good,
By an oddly clear mem'ry that fucking well should
Know better than gleefully taunting yer mind
With the Python and Pratchett that life left behind…