Penguins are silly looking birds. Flightless waterfowl often lampooned. A tuxedo has been called a “Penguin suit.” Nuns have been called “Penguins.” In “Mary Poppins,” Dick Van Dyke danced with them.
And who will ever forget Berkeley Breathed’s infamous Opus The Penguin from the Bloom County comic strip? He was an insecure, neurotic mess addicted to home shopping channels, 900 numbers and on an eternal quest to find his mother. Documentaries and musicals have starred them. In the animated Madagascar, they stole the show. There are even popular children’s television shows about them, The Penguins of Madagascar and 3-2-1 Penguins!
So when I was talking about the silliness of writers in facing both a deadline and blocked creativity, it only seemed natural for me use penguins to illustrate how to get past the block. Yes, when I reached a block on my NaNoWriMo, I used them.
At this point I have no earthly idea why Birdie is calling, but I really do think it’s time for some fish-slapping penguins to shimmy down a drainpipe. Three of the formally dressed, flightless waterfowl drop down unexpectedly, one is wearing a silly pointed had that looks like something a Catholic Bishop would wear to mass. The three little fellows break into a line dance.“Oh my,” thought Bittsy. “Can they really shake tail feathers? Do penguins even have tail feathers?”
So the dancing penguins manage a jaunty sashay to the thumpin’ mix before the one in the middle (which inexplicably has a beard and moustache) breaks out what appears to be a herring. He (presumably it’s a he, it is rather difficult to tell, but the beard is rather suggestive of maleness) turns and begins slapping the herring on the floor, much to Bittsy’s dismay. “I’ve just had those floors cleaned,” she protested. “Now they’ll smell of fish for weeks!”
The penguin merely winked at her and continued a rather lascivious dance with the herring before turning and slapping the penguin with the pointy hat in the face repeatedly. The hat wearing penguin doffed his odd cap and withdrew his own fish, a rainbow trout from the looks of it, and commenced to walloping his compadre with it. The third penguin, too preoccupied shaking his tail feathers to notice the antics of the other two (and yes, they do have tail feathers) did not see the catfish aimed at his face until too late.
With a naughty wink and a suggestive hip shimmy, the bearded penguin wielded the herring and the catfish like nunchucks, with surprising skill.
“Hmm,” said Bittsy. “Ninja penguins. How odd.”
I had no idea that my silly suggestion of fish slapping Ninja Penguins would spark such a surge of equal silliness among my fellow writers. In the online writing group to which I belong, “Penguins!” has become the battle cry for pushing past blocks and finding the joy in writing again.
So I urge you, one and all, when life seems to have you stymied, consider Fish Slapping Ninja Penguins as an answer. A little insanity every now and then can be just what the doctor ordered.