Word Play!

I have always felt the thrill of watching words spilled across the page. Even a menu attracts me with phrases like fresh squeezed orange juice and boysenberry compote. I love ellipses, quotation, question marks and the accent marks in other languages. Billboards and matchbook covers attract me. I cannot get enough contact with words.

When I search my memory for my first engagement with words, I recall two instances. I remember tracing the raised letters on a bathmat in a New York hotel - The Statler. Written in cursive writing, the texture of the "S" and "t" and "a" and "l" fascinated my fingers. Before that my father found me sprawled on the floor trying to copy out the squiggles from a big red book. I had watched my ballet teacher doing something similiar and it intrigued. When I asked, she said, "I'm writing."

Over the years I have collected a variety of words that attract me by their appearance, sound and meaning. I also have lists in French and Spanish. Pajaro will always feel more like a flyer than "bird." When I need a break, I return to the lists and play. Nothing has to make sense.

The jostling of words encourages my synapses to make amusing connections.

Creative Write: Begin your own list in four columns. Choose nouns and verbs. Avoid adjectives and adverbs. To start playing, circle a few and see what adventure they will take you in a freewrite. Draw lines in different colors to connect across, down or diagonally. Discover arrangements.

BOYSENBERRY      OASIS                    SPRITE                          FEROCITY

FRACTURE              SCRAMBLE           DRAGONFLY              PLUME

LIGHTNING             SAPPHIRE             CONFETTI                   TAPIOCA

SLITHER                  AUBERGINE          ARMADILLO              CUMULUS

FANDANGO           ZIGGURAT             HAYSTACK                 PUPPY

PETAL                     CANOODLE           FLUFF                           VELVETEEN

SURGE                    ARTICHOKE          DREAM                         FINGERS

SIDEWINDER        ELOPE                    JOUST                           SUNLIGHT

WOMBAT              SILLY                     FIGMENT                      AUGUST

STRUT                    RUBY                     WOLVERINE                GRAPEFRUIT

RELENT                 JACKHAMMER     LOVE                           PARACHUTE

BAMBOO              SWAGGER             MOON                         TWILIGHT

ANGER                  PERSNICKETY      LINOLEUM                 VELOCITY

SEAHORSE           SPINDRIFT            PLATINUM                  WHISKER

STAR GAZER        NUANCE               GLITTER                      RELAX

SPANGLE             DIAMOND             TREASURE                  PERIDOT

AUTUMN             SUFFOCATE        DANGLE                     DUCKLING

HYBERNATE        KITTEN                TSUNAMI                  PARSLEY

WHIFF                   LOVE                    PLUTO                       RUST

CABOOSE            PYRAMID             CONGEAL                 CINNAMON

TURTLE                FEAR                     GUPPY                        HERON