Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Have you ever played the game Scrabble? You remember how the game goes. . . dozens of beige wooden tiles spread out on the board. Each is impressed with a letter of the alphabet. Each letter is assigned a value. Infrequently used consonants have the most worth. You choose seven tiles at random and try to make words with your alphabet concoction. Shuffling letters back and forth, you arrange them into whatever combination of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, or prepositions your tiles reveal. Not just any word will do, you want to put the most valuable word down, because the Scrabble board itself is a matrix designed to reward your ability to put the right words in the right place. Also, you must find ways to connect your words with the words of others in the same game.

For me, the writing process is much like Scrabble; it's about using letters to make words, but not just any words. I want to put together as few words as possible that merge into thoughts and perspective that capture my experiences on the matrix board of living out life.

So I shuffle words. Write them down. Read them. Reread them. Rewrite them. Edit them for grammar and spelling. Then, return to them again, and again to censor what I've written! Why? Journaling usually has a lot of ME in it and could be interpreted as narcissistic. Understandable. Perhaps it is.

OK, call me stupid, but how do you master the art of writing about your life and journey without writing about your life and journey? Communicating what speaks to your senses, and what speaks to your spirit just can't be completely stuffed away in your inner space. Deep inside, your life--anyone's life--is a story worth telling. Writing builds a connection between people who may not even know each other.

A friend of mine, who also loves to write, described journaling succinctly, Writing cleanses the soul. All would probably agree on this one thing . . . the soul can become choked, cluttered, scattered, badly soiled and in need of cleansing. Writing leaves me feeling cleansed, yet choosing the words is a difficult process. I can arrange consonants and vowels into any form from any words in the English language. I can even put down words that would be best left off the board.

That being said, I am reminded of Sandy and me playing Scrabble with Justin and Josh when they were just kids. They could not resist the urge to put words like snot, poop, boogers, fart, peeing, puking, etc. on the board. . . they thought they were being funny. On second thought they, too, were using cleansing words.

Anyway . . .

Scrabble, anyone?

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