Science Poetry

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“Brief verse (perhaps a ‘nano-rhyme’?) 
To wish success and writing time 
To those who on month’s novel path go:
Best of luck in NaNoWriMo!”

This Twitter poem was written for the start of National Novel Writing Month 2019 and posted on 1 November 2019.  It highlights the presence of “nano”– a metric prefix– in the common shorthand for the month: NaNoWriMo.     

“Brief verse (perhaps a ‘nano-rhyme’?)” 
The choice of prefix and the aim of the brief verse here aligned fortuitously; hence this essay’s title.  “Nano” is a metric prefix meaning 10-9, indicating that whatever measurement cited will be on the order of one-billionth.  It may be useful to first reference what’s likely a more familiar metric prefix, “centi,” via the centimeter: by definition, 10-2 meter, or one one-hundredth of a meter.  Likewise, a nanometer is one one-billionth of a meter; a nanosecond is one one-billionth of a second.   This brief, four-line poem was a tiny one and thus “perhaps a nano-rhyme.” Moreover, the “nano-rhyme” phrase alluded to the sound of “NaNoWriMo” in its entirety, which is what had initially inspired the poem.   

“To wish success and writing time /
To those who on month’s novel path go: /
Best of luck in NaNoWriMo!”
I am consistently impressed with the efforts of those who complete NaNoWriMo, writing a draft of a novel in thirty days; returning to writing has been immensely rewarding over the past few years, but my efforts are almost entirely brief by definition: couplets, limericks, double dactyls; these accompanying essays.  The task of writing a full-length book (“month’s novel path”) seems most daunting! 

That said, I fully appreciate the value of a consistent routine, and I have found that my day-to day work benefits from finding writing time during the evenings and weekends.  That’s particularly true in the midst of this chaotic, challenging year, and so I also wish the best of luck to those who’ve started this effort here in 2020.