I have been playing Scrabble ever since I was a little girl. When I was young I played with my Mom and grandmother. My grandmother always won, but she also cheated. We all knew it, but no one was ever brave enough to dispute her invented words or creative arithmetic. Whenever I visit with my Mom now, we play at least one or two games every night. For a while, the games were very one-sided. (I hate to lose and for several years, I rarely lost. I'm sure I was no fun to play with!) Now that my Mom has become a Jumble expert, I lose as often as I win.
Why write about Scrabble and poetry? Lately, I see a lot of connections between the two, particularly when the right words just don't come. At least once during every Scrabble game I find a word in my tile rack that I can't let go of. That one word is all I see no matter how I rearrange the letters. Usually this occurs when there is simply no place to position it on the board. It seems to take forever to find another to play when that one pesky word is burned in my brain. The same thing happens when I write poetry. Sometimes I cannot find just the right word to express the image I want to convey, yet once I've chosen a word--the wrong word--I can't get past it. Does this happen to you?
The other day I was reading the dictionary (yes, you heard me) when my husband asked what I was doing. "Searching for new words," I said. I have now started a list of words with interesting meanings and sounds. Perhaps I should take this new obsession even farther and emulate Max in Max's Words, cutting words from newspapers and magazines and sorting them into categories. After all, this will not only leave me with an expanded pool of words for poems, but also a collection of new words for Scrabble.