A Family of Writers
My Dad was a professional poet, novelist and creative writing teacher. My Mother wrote short stories and poetry. My brother and I were encouraged to write. My earliest recollection of writing was around the age of 9, when my parents would set up a family writing competition, during which we would write stuff and win prizes. We also got a critique of our work, which probably helped a lot. Unfortunately I don’t remember much from those times.
Just as a musician has to learn multiple skills in order to perform effectively, writing is a collection of skills that must all be developed if you are to write effectively. In the Turner household in the early 1960’s, there was no television. One of our favorite recreations was to play word games.
Word Making and Word Taking
My favorite game was”Word Making and Word Taking”. It came in a small black box containing several layers of black wooden tiles with yellow letters on one side. The game entailed drawing letters into your hand and making words from your hand that you placed on the table in front of you. The longer the word, the more points it was worth.
But the real fun was that instead of putting a word out, you could add a letter from your hand to someone else’s word to make a new word which became yours. Competition was vicious, but there was a silver lining to losing a word to someone else, because you often ended up admiring the other person’s “performance”. I’m not sure what value there is to a writer in playing mental anagrams, but the game certainly developed one’s vocabulary.
[ to be continued ]