Where My Books Go
By William Butler Yeats

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.
(From the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1919)

I have confessed to many of you already that I have developed a concerning addiction … to words. 

I… am word nerd.  


I have decided … that I can live with this.

“It takes courage to be who you really are.” e.e. cummings

However, I dearly hope that my obsession will not discourage those with a balanced and healthy relationship with words from this adventure.  I don’t want to be that person … You know the one … This isn’t a contest – it is a quest – an adventure and not an opportunity to get a hero biscuit. 

That all said – I want to check in and find out how the word collection is going: expediently, ponderously, joyously, miserably?

Regardless of your progress – the next task is still achievable.  And word collecting should be an ongoing, continuous, ceaseless, open-ended process … words flow past in a current, catch them as you go, keep going …

It is time to start playing with the words we have –

Official task #2: 


The words we have collected – are words which (hopefully) invoke or spark something within us or represent something symbolic so, ultimately, they meet up with some “thing” within us – be it heart, mind, soul …

I fell in love with new words like: jejune, orthography, tautology because they surprised me with new definitions – made me laugh, made me think about my David, who loves accuracy in language.  So in the jar they went …

I found myself saying certain words over and over because they roll out of my mouth like music … deciduous, tempestuous, yearn, flow, collywobbles,

Or when I read other words I could hear myself adding flare to the sounds:  in-cog- NI-to (I feel sneaky merely thinking the word), or META-MOR-phosis (I hear the Praying Mantis from “A Bug’s Life” emphasizing the “MOR-phosis”)

Regardless – the words all brought something to me – they spoke, they speak … individually.

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But where there are words together something new starts to happen – I started to see these individual words playing next to each other – and the solitary meanings change – they began to shed light on other words and grow into a community of words – words from all different “neighbourhoods,” different contexts brought together in new and unexpected ways. They began to redefine each other, enliven one other, subdue others, or to turn out plain silly combinations which made me laugh … this jumbling up is the edge of poetry, it is the point at which words are free to meet our understanding – and create something …else.

Your task then is to play with these new combinations – new pairings, greet these mewling new word combos with tenderness – they can be tenuous or bang on,  some may not really work, but try anyway. Like the word collecting this should be organic – let the silly happen, let the melodrama see the light, and keep going …

Some examples:

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vermillion storm candy – melodic dust green shoes – slimy love confetti – divine din – joust shame parachutes – joy trek rhythm – grow festooned – curious song akimbo dream – flummoxed murmuration – hum eclipse whimsy –

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I encourage you to “not think” too hard about the process.  Most of these combos came from looking over groups of words laid out randomly.  Let the words speak to each other … this is play … If you have words in a list – try writing them out in different combinations, you don’t need the words to be on cards – or print off some of my words from the previous post – and let your kids try making combinations –

Do I sound like a loon yet?  Good … being foolish only helps with poetry.


Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge – recommends using your word pool or word soup as I have come to call my collection,  to label things around your house, in your space, even yourself or others –  I have yet to do this much but I will share my results. 


Are you with me?  Still game for this adventure?  I hope so… I have “tender cerulean pipedreams.”