There are lots of tools to help you
For special people in your life, there are some occasions which call for a toast, a roast or just a small speech. By writing an ‘ode’ ahead of time, you give the subject of your tribute the gift of careful thought about what you want to convey – and maybe some humor. It is easier to read an ode than to speak extemporaneously, so by preparing – you take the pressure off yourself.
An ode is a lyrical form of poetry. In fact, the word ‘ode’ is derived from a Greek word which means ‘to chant or sing’. Poets often praise people in odes and they can be solemn. To celebrate a friend you will want to be a little more playful than Keats and Shelley. Let loose.
Here are some tips on how to get started.
- Brainstorm and list all the words and ideas you associate with the person about whom you will write. For instance: entrepreneur, kind eyes, loyal and funny. What is important to you about the person? What does he/she do? What images come to mind? How do you feel about the person? Do not think about organizing your ideas. That will happen later.
- Group your brainstorms into relevant categories – personality, profession, recreation, relationship, memorable moments, accomplishments, chronological order… you get the picture.
- To rhyme or not to rhyme? Many odes rhyme and follow a repeated rhythm, but you do not need to be bound by convention. If you make up your own pattern – repeat it in every stanza.
- The ancient Romans and Greeks sang their odes. I can’t sing, but if you can, you might want to set your ode to music – or choose a favorite tune and fit your ode to the beat.
- Begin writing your ode.
Need some help? There are great resources online to help you write like a pro.
To find interesting and varied words, use a Thesaurus. You probably have a Thesaurus built into WORD. You can also use these online options:Visual Thesaurus – Offers a two-week free trial, so write quickly or become a subscriber. It displays the word you have chosen and then maps related words, synonyms.
Visuwords – Maps words with a color code for the different parts of speech.
Use a Rhyming Dictionary to find words and phrases which rhyme with the key words you have chosen. What rhymes with ‘friend’?