The Word Game

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Speech Bubbles She Tattooed The Word 'REMEMBER' Across Her Arm I find a quote in a zine from Canberra which says you should never write anything you wouldn't have tattooed on yourself. I wonder if people in that city agreed maybe there would be less crappy laws being passed. I Keep Losing All My Pens Late at night, I ride home high on the fine wine of conversation and scribble loose spidering symbols in my journal, disappearing into the space between the pen and the blank page. Archaic Laptops A few years ago, I found an 'Empire Aristocrat' typewriter in an op-shop for the princely sum of ten dollars. It feels like a piece of archaic technology from the twentieth century - supposedly out of date - but no printer I know can print on leaves or paperbark. I keep it next to my bed loaded with recycled bank receipts and flyers, safety catch off. Sometimes we use it to play writing games, passing it around the balcony with friends after dinner. A sentence creates a portrait of the communal mind. My housemate has brought one too. He placed it in our bathroom on a stool next to the toilet with a roll of toilet paper running through. Sometimes in the morning, ripe from dream, this is where inspiration strikes and a queue forms in the corridor waiting for the final words of a poem to fall off the tip of someones tongue. The Keyboard is a Musical Instrument At uni we learnt how scientists have tried for decades to program the computer to understand the nuance of human language, as yet it has proved impossibly difficult. Now, when writing code for a program like Flash or Director we must learn to write 'Lingo'. It is easier to speak the computers language then try and teach them to speak ours. Dictionaries and Beats I know a hip hop artist who has read the dictionary from cover to cover and travels with a thesaurus in his backpack. When a few MC's gather to jam, they congregate in circles, beatboxing and rhyming freestyles with other poets in spontaneous corroborees which they call a 'cypher'. These can happen anywhere; at a party, on the street, or even in your kitchen after the morning coffee. Conversation Threads Some people speak in bubbles, because their worldview is a cartoon. I think of words more like strings which curl around and between us from mouth to ear canal. Sometimes we trip over them, or get caught in their nets during arguments with others. Mostly I try to weave them like a cloth, or a tapestry of tales and anecdotes, jokes and quotes. These are the social fabrics which connect us across the distance between our minds. Libraries are Forests of Ideas At a cafe, John tells me all he ever reads is non-fiction; newspapers, history books, magazines, biographies, essays, etc. An academic, he says has no time for escaping in the fictional universes in a world full of so much fascinating and beautiful data. Alex says she only reads fiction nowadays - she needs the emotional magnetism to keep her interest and relate to her own life. She's eaten enough information, she tells me. Now she just wants to taste humble journeys amidst the human chaos of the world in motion. All the Schnews Thats Fit To Print One day I realised the newspaper is a just a collage of moments. Stories recorded via journalists, squeezed through the corporate media machinery which controls consensus reality like the floodgates of a dam. It's the day by day serial drama of the planet, rolled up and hand delivered to your doorstep like a modern scroll. Readers swallow them every morning with coffee and breakfast. The biography of the human race unfolding. Can I get an Invoice for my Soul? Receipts are poems written for tax collectors - The mystical numerologists of consumer society. My invoice folder is an autobiography of my life in dollars. A library no one would ever care to read, unless I pay them to. The DNA of Literature If words are a virus, the act of writing allows each of us to influence the evolution of the organism. We play games with words, juggling and shuffling them like chromosomes in the cosmic pool of intellect. We sculpt raincloud poems or oceanic novels from their water molecules. Weaving strings of sentence in narrative. Paint pictures with their pixels in the space between the letters of the alphabet. Poetry in the Streets! I met a poet called Mu who scrawls zen riddles upon transit tickets of the Melbourne tram lines and leaves them hanging on a piece of string from the handrails. He says he wants to invest beauty in the cityscape. These are small anonymous acts against the facelessness of the overpopulated and disconnected public space which he calls 'the museum of strangers'. Old skool graf artists sometimes call themselves 'writers'. In my old suburb of East Brunswick, someone has written 'poetry' on signs, billboards, walls, streetlights, anything. Another prolific writer is named 'Ha Ha' and everywhere you go the city walls of the city are laughing with his signature. 'Civilian' carves words into cardboard and perspex stencils and paints them with aerosol in abandoned warehouse squats and back alley street art galleries. My favourite quote of his reads: "If these walls could talk, they would say Thank You." First published in the 'Writers on Writing' for the NT Writer's Centre Newsletter, 2004.