I’m a writer not a poet, an artist, but not a poet. Yet, I have shared several of my poems in past blog posts. For me, poetry serves as a shorthand expression of creativity that I do not spend a great deal of time obsessing over.
Please don’t misunderstand me; I do take poetry most seriously. From Henry David Thoreau, to Sylvia Plath, to Maya Angelou, their lyrical words have healed my broken psyche, made me feel I wasn’t alone in the world, and allowed me to see humankind, and Mother Nature, through new eyes.
When I do take my own poetry seriously is when I’m using it to see/understand more clearly—and in less time—the “underlying message” behind the story banging against the walls of my brain insisting on a way out. Those short clipped sentences have proven to be a most useful tool in the honeymoon phase of writing a short story, or novel.
To date, my relationship with poetry has been a secluded, solitary association. But to my surprise, I’ve recently discovered another use for this impactful form of expression.
Do you like playing games?
Many of my writing friends use games, role-playing games, dice games, tarot card games; the list goes on and on. They utilize these games to allow the fates to determine the story they will tell. I personally have never done this, but….
In a small bookstore on the Oregon coast I stumbled upon a poetry word game. It was one of those, hair standing up on the back of my neck moments. I felt this game literally calling out to me from its hidden, dusty shelf.
It was as though this game was made specifically for me—“A Game of Color and Wordplay!”
Color and Wordplay!
For those who’ve not read my past blog posts, as stated above I’m also an artist. But this game didn’t just catch me with its title. No, it gave this extrovert writer the added bonus of being, either a solitary game, or a game to be enjoyed with others.
There are several ways in the “How to Play” rules. The first time I played this game, I had the good fortune of being on a weekend retreat with three of my adult daughters, a nine-year old grandson, and a sixteen-year old granddaughter.
There was admittedly, hesitation, from my offspring at my request to play this particular game. But some time later, after many stories magically appeared through randomly picked colored tiles etched with whispered words, they were hooked.
The rules we played by were quite simple:
- Stock your palette with a dozen paint chips.
- Draw a Prompt
- Make your Poem
- Show & Tell
- The “judge” declares the winner who then receives the Prompt card.
The final winner is the player who collects the most prompts, but we didn’t play to win. We played for the fun, creative story reflected as each palette was revealed.
Here are a few of the stories created along with the prompt, and paint chips:
Once Upon a Time
There was a dragon fly,
who lived in an herb garden.
He found a looking glass.
When he looked through it, he saw an emerald.
The Sunshine hit it,
giving him a new zest for life.
Once Upon a Time
on the red planet.
A bluebird lived,
in a cedar chest,
made of driftwood.
In a Parallel Universe
A fairy mustard seed,
woke in the shadow of midnight,
by a babbling brook,
and her lover, Supernova.
As she sat next to him eating nectar,
she blushed like a pink pearl.
In a Parallel Universe
An iron gate opened
To a genie in a lamp playing a saxophone solo
It created a pyramid, tree house of bone.
The result—a total eclipse of night.
We began with a lightening bolt.
It created the bright fire of our love.
But through boundary waters we slipped,
separating us for an eternity in Outer Space.
So in this month of poetry, I encourage you, if you’ve never written poetry or used it as a creative outlet please give it a try. Paint Chip Poetry can get you started.
I can’t wait to open the box on this wordplay game again. With its never-ending source of creative story on paint colored chips, it waits for its players to imagine new worlds, new stories revealed.
What tools do you use to spark your creative muse?