Sunday, January 19, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014


My mind won’t quit making words! This has little to do with my writing, though one might think constant word creation would benefit a writer. This is an unwelcome artifact of word games.
As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I play Words with Friends and a couple of electronic versions of the game Boggle. It is my my mind’s obsession with the latter that gives me fits.

Boggle, as you may remember, is a game where letters are arranged in a 4 letter by 4 letter grid. In the pre-digital days, letters were on a six-sided cube (which is redundant, but so be it). The Boggle game itself was a plastic box which you could shake to randomize the letters. I still remember the rattle.

Today’s digital versions use randomization algorithms to assure that each game is different. The point of the game, digital or analog, is to find as many words as possible using only adjacent letters.

Doubtless there are certain words in the English language that appear more frequently, because the letters are more common. Every individual is probably drawn to certain letter combinations because of the way their particular brain works. Or, maybe the digital elves just like certain words. I notice that STONE, STONED, STONES, STONER and STONERS show up a lot. As far as I know, I’m not predisposed to seek out STONERS, but there you have it. Bonus: TONE, TONED, TONES, TONER and TONERS are hiding in plain sight when the aforementioned words appear.

Variations on TUNE, TRAIL, RAIL, DEER, DEAR, SEER, and several other letter combinations seem prevalent in my games. All of them are now prevalent in my mind. I find myself looking at a word and dissecting it for its parts. During the day, if I’m doing something that doesn’t take a lot of thought, my mind wanders through random words, restacking the letters in different ways. At night, I dream about making words with little squares.

This is mildly irritating to the top levels of my thinking machine. However, I know this is simply the way my brain--your brain, too--processes new information. I’ve had it happen before with games I’ve been obsessed with and with projects I’m really concentrating on at work. A dream about spreadsheets. Zippy.

Fortunately, this also happens when I’m deep into the writing of a novel. Writing novels is what this blog is mainly about, in case you’d forgotten or were distracted by whirlings of your mind.