Writing Stop Pit Stop: Word Exchange Play

Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! How time flies! I started blogging with WordPress two years ago today, but I’ve consistently posted every week or more starting a year ago with this format of fueling some ideas for writing. I know I’m always looking for prompts – in everyday life, or by seeing what other writers put out there that work for them. An unexpected “prompt” has developed from writing this blog, and by participating in Oulipost 2014 in April. Through that challenge a few of us Ouliposters began following one another on WordPress, and after our stint in April was over, Lewis Oakwood, from England, who writes the blog, The Thought-Sphere World, began posting quite regularly in my comment section. What he was posting was my own words from that particular week’s blog as a poem. What he was doing fascinated me, not because he was using “my words,” but because his poems really expressed in a really cool way what the blog had been about that week.

Naturally, I enjoy a challenge and went to his blog and tried my hand at reusing some of his words to see how that turned out. It was also interesting because he was posting his own short poems, or in one instance a twenty syllable two-line sonnet. Once I wrote my poems from his words, I posted my efforts for him to see on his blog and it has started a nice back and forth in our comments section.

Here are a couple of Lewis’ poems (you can peruse through past blogs to find more…or to see what he did) using my blog:

That $$ Thing
Come to terms with that $$ thing
you know what I’m talking about,
no money = money woes.
– How to get out of these money woes –
Don’t make money a taboo subject
talk openly about it, face it
that $$ thing.
– Don’t hesitate to develop the things that you truly love to do –
Put in the hours,
it make things a whole lot easier in the long run.
What’s the story there?

If Death Pulled Off A Surprise

At this point in life,
– at this moment –
what would you do
if death took a loved one?

ponder the relationships
of those nearest to you.

Here’s a couple of my poems using his blogs:

The Morning After

Slow half step, then another,

very slow another:


Here’s the twenty syllable two-line sonnet effort:

As I Sat, I Sang The Alone Song

Songbird fairyland sonnet in fair, stare

there watching the wildcats naked with care.

What we’re doing is a version of found poetry, but it also is a good exercise in word play. And, if you haven’t played with words (or don’t think of it in that way) that’s what I’m going to challenge you to do this week! So, for your 44th prompt try some word play:

“Stealing Words & Making Them Your Own”

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating plagiarism! You should always acknowledge who you took your words from…in an epigraph under the title, or somewhere if your work gets published. If you followed my stint as an Ouliposter, you know that I always gave credit to the Toledo Blade and any of the writers whose columns/articles I used. With that said, have some fun:

1) If you’ve not perused any other blogs, this might be a good time to do that. Find someone that speaks to you, someone who is writing about something you’re interested in, or is using language that you like. Then don’t copy their work word for word, but extract a few words out of their blog and formulate your own poem.

2) It might not be easy to come up with a finished piece by doing this challenge when working in other genres besides poetry, but something that I learned many years back…is that you might find words that you like (or want to utilize in your own vocabulary). Make a list of those words as you discover them and then try to consciously implement them in your essays, stories, or plays. For example, I’m a big Kurt Vonnegut fan. I’ve read all of his books, sometimes more than once. I’ve also had my daybook near me as I’ve read his works before and when I’d come across words he used that I liked, I compiled a list of them. Then if I need a word in a poem or play and I’m not liking what I’m coming up with, I utilize my lists of favorite words.

3) Just play with rearranging your own words from your own works. Maybe something that hasn’t worked in the past – play with word order, omit words, use a thesaurus, be silly…sometimes that’s when something serious comes!

4) Take any of your word play pieces and revise. Revision is always important, you’ve heard me say that before. Also, if you do like what you’ve come up with and plan on sending it out in the world, do give credit to the person who inspired you in some way. And, if you’re up to the challenge, strike up a writing friendship through your blogging/sharing words experiences…and post in their blog comment section if you dare.

Don’t hesitate to share, in the comments section, what your writings with word play brings about.

See you here next Wednesday with another writing prompt! (And, we’re an hour into Thursday…but it was Wednesday when I started writing! :-))

7 thoughts on “Writing Stop Pit Stop: Word Exchange Play

  1. When Matthew was 35.

    As I sat on the porch enjoying the sunshine and a break from the monotony of kids, Matthew walked around from the back yard and stood in the grass in front of me for a few minutes. He said he liked a waitress at his favorite restaurant and wanted me to go with him to sit and have coffee there to help him strike up a conversation with her. I said no, but that he could take my daughter because kids are a chick magnet. As they headed for the car, I thought I may be missing an opportunity and watched as he buckled her in and drove away.

    As me, Matthew and my mom sat in Burger King he pointed out a woman behind the counter and said, “Why doesn’t someone like her like him. He looked sad. He was 35. He said that he wished that just once in his life, he was in love with a woman and she was in love with him at the same time and he really knew it. He wanted to know what it felt like to be in love. He said he never knew what that was like. I examined his face.

    As my brothers Chucky, Bobby and I talked in the yard my brother Matthew walked into the corn field. We looked at each other puzzled. A few minutes later, we heard him singing the Hallelujah chorus and we all stopped talking, listened for a minute and then laughed at him. He said to me later that at that time in his life was the closest he ever felt to God.

    When my daughter came home from a year trip to Hawaii to live with her dad, she told me that her step mom asked her which one of her uncles was the craziest. Hailey said that Matthew was because once he made her and all the kids pick up the little specks on the carpet once. Her step mom’s ridicule stings. Matthew never put people down. I remember that day, of the carpet event. His three kids were ransacking the house one summer day. Their mother was at work and he was making a game of cleaning up their mess for her. He had all the kids laughing and they did a great job cleaning. He was good with kids. He asked me to stay and visit with him longer but I was in a hurry. Some other time.

    Matthew died at 36. He had a virus that went to the lining of his heart. He never got to have a great love and people called him crazy but he gets to be close to God. As I sat in Burger King on my lunch break from work, I think about the time I sat with Matthew in Burger King and what he said to me. My being in a hurry in life and having Matthew as a brother reminds me of the saying my mother always recites. “I overlooked an orchid looking for a rose.”

  2. Hi Lylanne, I love this weeks prompt, obviously 🙂 It was fun seeing our rearrangements alongside each other. “Songbird fairyland sonnet” – lovely flow to it! These rearrangements can stand as ‘finished’ pieces or they can be used as aids to creating other works, either way…fuel to the fire! It would be great to see some of the results of this weeks prompt in your comment section.

    Below is a piece reusing (only) your words from this weeks prompt.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Thought-Sphere World

    Everyday life fuelling the unexpected,
    naturally, always a surprise.

    Out into the world,
    section by section developed.

    Words following one another,
    ideas expressed as the language
    of stories, plays, essays and poems.


    (A twenty syllable two-line sonnet) –


    Your own life a poem rearranging,
    expressed as naked experiences.


      • Hi Lewis, I don’t know why you would “love this week’s prompt!” 😉 I’m glad you did. I appreciate your comments and your activity with writing to my blogs. I saw a few more of your posts that I am going to go back and write to…I just haven’t had much time this week! Keep up the good, and fun, writing!

      • Lylanne, had I not participated in Oulipost 2014 I may not have had the pleasure of having these exchanges of ideas via your comment section. I have to admit that up till then I was beginning to lose interest in writing, however, these visits to your blog have brought a renewed desire to try something different, a sort of getting back to basics (I had drifted too far into the ‘abstract’.) Well done for two years of blogging! See you here next week! Thank you, Lylanne. 🙂

      • Lewis, I hear you about Oulipost 2014. I “met” a lot of good people through participating in that project. I’m certainly glad that you didn’t give up on writing. And, it makes me happy that your visits to my blog sparked a “renewed desire” to “try something different.” I think we all go through some low points with our writing/projects…as for the longest time I wasn’t sure that anyone was even reading my blog, but decided to stick with it…and I’m glad I did.
        I will be visiting your blog more often as well! Thank you for your kind words, Lewis! Until next time. 🙂

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