Friday, March 7, 2008

Word Games (Sunday Scribblings)

I’ll admit it. I’m a word junkie. My favorite games are Scrabble and Boggle. I work and even create crossword puzzles. Beyond that, I love to play with individual words, twist them, slap them into new forms, wring them out for new meanings.

Whereas others may put themselves to sleep by counting sheep, I do so by counting the number of words that I can make from the letters of a single word chosen at random. I do mean at random. Sometimes I choose it by focusing on the spine of a book in my bookcase. Sometimes it just pops into my head. Sometimes I am frustrated, as when the word that popped into my head was Mississippi. Try as I might, I could only come up with the following words: sip, pips, pip, miss, sips, piss, pimp, pimps, imps, imp, simp (slang) and simps. When, as I sometimes do when I run out of other possibilities, I tried to compose something from these, it turned out to be indecent.

Last night the word for courting slumber was multiplications. I should explain my self-imposed rules. I only use letters to the extent that they occur in the original word. Therefore, from the word above, I could make action but not inaction, since the latter has two ns and multiplication has only one.

It put me to sleep last night, but not before the richness of its harvest imprinted itself on my mind to the extent that I expanded my word search into today. Then I tried to use the new words to compose a piece. What is it? Poem? Lecture? Diatribe? You decide.

Call up an atoll,
a tall atomic mist,
as small mutations cast a pall on millions.
Mull on impact , on implications
as an oil scion claims soil to tap for oil,
as compliant oilist toils to plant
panic imputations,
put out an illicit call-up to all,
to a son to sail into action
to implant on locals an unlocal plan,
to still complaints --
son lost at an action station
in pain to taint a soul,
slain in oil silt,
lain so still!
So still!

Oust a scamp!
Opt to call a recall poll!
A plain stipulation:
Stamp out atomic multiplication,
its toll on trust!
Cast out oil pacts!
Split past oil until
sun, not oil, can act!
Stop oil action,
its oil spill, oil spoil.

And to think that all this was found in that one word multiplications!

Yes, as you might guess from this, I have other obsessions: peace on earth, protection of the environment, world health and others. I’m sorry I couldn’t show my support of women by including a daughter as well as a son in this little piece. But she was not to be found in multiplications. Could it be that she prefers mathematics? If so, perhaps it’s because it has team items as its meat.

Yes, words can say things about themselves! I don’t know what this might mean in the case of Mississippi. I’ll skip New Orleans and the possible miss with a pimp. But I do remember a night in a motel on the Mississippi River when my husband and I bought bottled water so that, given the color of the water that flowed from our faucet, we didn’t have to sip piss from upstream!


tumblewords said...

As you say - we are of a like political mind. Won't miss the pimp! I, too, love the wild things that occur with a little word twist. I laugh myself into hysterics each time I write for my weird blog 2000 Mythsteries and Other Pithy Shorts. It's all about words, all about words.

Enjoyed your post, as always! You have a rare and lovely talent!

Greyscale Territory said...

Love your witty play with and over and around (and sometimes through) words. The fun is there and the seriousness is there too.

Wonderful post!

Smiles and Light

myrtle beached whale said...

As a person that spends a lot of time on my own, I love wordplay too. I was looking at your Mississippi and came up with a few, I think. Depending on your ground rules. I have used them all in scrabble and won challenges.

missis, sis, ism, psi, mis, sim, impi, (you can plural them too) psis, sims, impis, isms. That is all I can come up with off the top of my head, but some will come to me later I am sure. Thanks for the brain teaser this morning.

paisley said...

wow.. this was really amazing... i have never actually played that game with myself... and to be totally honest i doubt i could without the aid of pencil and paper... what an amazing poem you constructed as well... thank you so much for sharing all of this... i want to try doing this tonight when i go to bed and see how far i can get unaided....

Bethany said...

All I can say is Wow. You have such an amazing gift with words!

Linda Jacobs said...

What fun! I'm definitely going to have my poetry-writing students try this! So creative!

Retiredandcrazy said...

Wow! You are older than me and you've just been tagged. Come on over to read all about it.

gautami tripathy said...

Awesome post. You never disappoint!

Refluxing Life

Jo Anne O. said...

Oh my, what a great piece! I don't know how you did what you did, but it was wonderful so keep doing it!

Shyam said...

What a brilliant post! :) I love word games too. I play Scrabble online regularly - do you?

Dusty Spider said...

Wow, very impressive Granny Smith! Really enjoyed that. Must take you ages to get to sleep though! Flick x.

LittleWing said...

so countin sheep is out... loved your post... courting slumber w/multiplications WOW!!!... beautiful pic of magnolias... poetry is lovely ...i cannot possibly imagine how hard it would be to leave yr homeland b/c of a nuclear explosion... and oil, i wonder how we got to here.. what happened to windmills ... always enjoy yr posts...