Playing with Words

Sometimes when my energy is running low and ennui is running high, I want to play with words, but they just won’t come. So I steal other people’s words and bend them to my purposes and play in my visual diary.

This piece is taking a leaf out of Austin Kleon’s book and choosing words in situ. I use a black marker to kill off the words that don’t fit the story, and in this case I embellished with some collage. A couple of hours of being lost in the process was just what I needed.

The next time I needed to steal words, I chose song lyrics.

I love music. I love listening to it, I love playing it. Mum tells me that she used to know what mood I was in by what music I was listening to. When my husband was deployed and we had a long-term long-distance marriage (and even well before that) we used music to communicate how we were feeling when words weren’t coming. Dad and I are finding new connections by swapping music clips … he has always loved jazz and blues, and I am learning, because my husband also likes blues…so the three of us trade songs and learn new things together. And it is interesting to see how my sons’ musical tastes evolve over the years. Music can be so powerful, and used widely for both good and ill…but that’s a subject for another post on another day when I have more brain cycles to devote.

These days I still turn to music alternately to soothe and to energise, and now I am turning again to music and lyrics when the words don’t want to come and I don’t know what to write. This time I decided to use the lyrics of one of my favourite songs as a jumping off point for some word play.

These are the lyrics from Mark Knopfler’s beautiful song Wherever I Go. You can watch it here on YouTube.

I sliced the lines of lyric up and mixed them up so the song itself is pretty much unrecognisable, and shuffled and rearranged them, picking out phrases or words that appealed. I slice sentences apart and sometimes even words get the same treatment. Using only the limited array of words provides a level of constraint that inspires creativity without having to think too hard.

This is what I ended up with. I pasted my rearranged words onto a zentangle doodle page that I did while watching telly the previous night when I couldn’t decide what to draw. I am calling it Slice and Dice Poetry. But it’s nothing new … here are two others that talk about it… here and here. I am in good company!

I enjoyed this exercise thoroughly and will do it again. This poem ended up with the same sort of feel as the song…I wonder if I could make something darker or just completely different within the same constraints. We shall see.

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