Crossword puzzles, Scrabble, Words with Friends… I don’t play any of them. Is the correct word for engaging in any of these activities even “play”? Do people actually enjoy doing crosswords? Scrabble? Crosswords always seem like so much work to me, my mind twisting around trying to make sense of the convoluted clues. They make me feel stupid too, and I know I’m not stupid. Or I hope I’m not. Same for Scrabble and Words with Friends. All these weird words I’ve never heard of! Scrabble words my friends call them, and by that they mean words one would never have occasions to use, but which offer tons of points. One friend confessed to me she regularly uses words she couldn’t define—she has no idea what they even mean. To which I say: What’s the point? The joy of words is knowing what they mean, then stringing them together with other words to create new meanings, grander meanings. Or that’s where I find my joy.

Here are some word games I enjoy and play regularly.


At night, if my mind is chewing on itself, playing and replaying some future or past event, instead of counting sheep, I come up with a category, say, adjectives, then start through the alphabet: almighty, beleaguered, catastrophic, delightful…. Most nights I’m out cold before I get to Zombified. Categories can be anything: places on the planet, tools that make our lives easier, plants.


If I’m killing time somewhere, I write the first eight-word sentence that comes to mind.

Marky strode aggressively into the empty conference room.

Then I write seven more sentences, the second one starting with the second word of my first sentence, the third with the third of the first sentence, and so on. For instance:

Strode, because she wanted to appear confident. Aggressively, because she wanted Pete Baxter from marketing to know she wasn’t fucking around. Into her mind, when seeing the room was empty, came the thought, Wait, isn’t today Wednesday? The calendar on her phone confirmed it was indeed Wednesday, so where was everyone? Empty were all nine chairs that should have been filled with her colleagues. Conference or no, she thought to herself, I am one bad-assed intern. Room to grow in regard to scheduling, she conceded, then strode less aggressively out of the conference room in search of answers.

I like doing this because it makes me mess around with sentence construction. In this case, starting a sentence with the word Room was a challenge.

Three (and by far, my favorite):

I write! And what a joy that is. Stringing words together to create stories. One of life’s greatest pleasures. And to those of you who play Scrabble, Words with Friends, and do crossword puzzles, power to you! You have more patience than me.

That’s it for today. Remember to live the love. It’s all we’ve got.