Triple Word Score.


“Calvin: Ha! I’ve got a great word and it’s on a Double word score box!
Hobbes: ZQFMGB isn’t a word! It doesn’t even have a vowel!
Calvin: It is so a word! It’s a worm found in New Guinea! Everyone knows that!”
~Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

Scrabble

I love Scrabble. A lot. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s the best game ever invented. What can be more fun than diving into all those tiles and using them to spell out a plethora of words? And if you play online – can we talk about how addicting that is? – you have the added bonus of learning new definitions, new meanings, and new phrases just about every time. For example, did you know that qat is a word? Qua? Zin? Za? Xi? Xu? See where I’m going here, with all the highest-rated letters? Ha. No matter whether you play on the computer or via the actual board game, though, the end result is the same: expanding your horizons, stretching your vocabulary, and getting to dabble in the intricacies of language.

As a writer, I of course rely on that language every day. No matter what I’m working on, I always want the perfect words to get my message across. Some days those words fly from head to hand faster than I can type. On others, I find myself staring out the window, watching the clouds tumble through the sky as I contemplate the exact phraseology I want to use. Honestly, there are times when I’m probably way too hard on myself about that. As a perfectionist, that’s just my nature, and when it comes down to it, we really are our own worst critic. It’s just that when I’m working on a book that I so clearly feel is a part of my heart, I want every bit – every single, solitary, most minute bit – to be the best it can be. A lot of the time, that comes from instinct. When I’m writing, I can feel it when something works. I can feel that sense of excitement bubbling inside my chest, rising through me until it just explodes in a starburst of adrenaline and inspiration. I crave those writing experiences. But can they happen each time I sit down to write? No. I don’t think that happens for any author. Writing is the most magical, uplifting journey, but it’s also work. It has nuances and complexities, and even though they can be frustrating sometimes, they push us further and strengthen us. They help us grow.

For me, that’s so important. I make it a personal goal for each new project to challenge me in some way. After all, if we linger at the status quo, we’ll never take steps forward. With my current manuscript, the challenge definitely comes via the format. Instead of writing it like a traditional book, it switches back and forth between a diary and journal style. I’ve done journal entries before – in fact, Reflections of Me has a few – but this is the first time I’ve tackled writing an entire book that way. It’s different, it’s exciting, and it’s a new adventure that I’m having such fun exploring. Does it mean extra work? Yes. Do I mind that? Not at all. The opposite, actually. I’m enjoying the process and savoring the opportunity to stretch myself further. The specifics of where this book will take me, where these characters I love so dearly will take me, aren’t all snapped into place yet. I have a general idea of how things will continue to progress, but as always happens, I feel myself almost taking a backseat to the characters as they lead the way. I love that, SO MUCH.

But back to Scrabble for a minute. How exciting is it when you get a triple word score? And if it includes one of those highly sought after ZQX combos, well, all the better. Then there’s the fantabulous (I figured making up words was clearly the way to go when talking about the game) occasion when you piece together a seven letter word. Fifty point bonus? Yes, please! What about in life, though? Maybe we can’t always get the highest scoring combination. Maybe luck doesn’t always give us that triple play. We can make our own luck, though. We can take what’s given to us and twist it, craft it, into the words blossoming inside us. We can speak our minds, write until our hearts are content, and remind ourselves that not everything has to be perfect. Not everything can be perfect. But if it’s right for us, if it tells the story that’s just bursting from our thoughts faster than our hands can type … well, doesn’t that make us the best kind of winner?

By the way, in case you were wondering, a QAT is an evergreen shrub and a ZIN is a dry, red wine. And my newest favorite? ZYZZYVA, of course. Who wouldn’t love a tropical weevil?

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10 thoughts on “Triple Word Score.

  1. I . LOVE . Scrabble! My life was made complete when I got the Braille scrabble game for Christmas around 1987 or so. I used to win at it quite a bit.
    *laughing at Calvin and Hobbs*

    • Oh goodness, you are far too kind – but definitely right about the sense of peace. Even when everything going on seems to call for the opposite – maybe especially then – I try really hard to keep that. I’ve found something as simple as deep breaths can be unbelievably helpful. I hope you can find that peace and calm, too :)

  2. i love calvin & hobbes! and, i suck at scrabble :/ seriously, it was my mom’s favorite game so i always tried to play, but alas, i was usually the “it” “is” dork. it’s a writer’s dream game! have you played words with friends?

    p.s. “starburst of adrenaline” <—LOVE that.

    • You make me smile – I know I’ve said that before, but it’s worth repeating. I agree, it’s definitely a writer’s dream game – and I bet you’re not giving yourself nearly enough credit! Is Words With Friends only for iPhones? I’ve heard such great things about it and would love to play, but I only have a regular LG phone. Hmph!

      And thank you!! :)

  3. And then there’s ki. And suq. And a bunch of other fun ones. :-) I love Scrabble. At one point I had all the two-letter words memorized, and knew a bunch of the twos-to-threes because we were playing so often.

    I once heard a joke: How do you get help if you’re stuck on a deserted island by yourself? Answer: Play solitaire. Someone is bound to come along and tell you, “That three of hearts can go on the four of spades over there.” My answer, though? Play Scrabble. Someone’s bound to come along and whisper, “You know you can spell ‘cat’ with those letters, don’t you? That’s worth three whole points!”

    P.S. I’ve been meaning to comment on this for DAYS – ever since I read it right after you posted it – but kept forgetting when I was near a real computer. (I read blogs on my iPod.) Sorry it took me so long! I love this post, though, and HAD to comment.

    • Oh, no worries at all. Along the same lines – I PROMISE your email is coming today. This week has just been absolutely insane, but I finally have some time to breathe now and answering you is first on my list :-)

      Now, on to Scrabble! Your revised version of the joke made me laugh out loud (literally). And suq? Really? See, you learn new things every day. I’ll be sure to use that in a game sometime! Ki is one of my favorites to fall back on – and ka, too. I think we should start using these words in our everyday vocabulary and see what people think!

  4. I love Scrabble! Do you have an iPod touch or iPhone? My sister and I have been playing Words with Friends lately. And I discovered all of the words using crazy letters the other day when I was Googling good words to use in Scrabble, haha. Sometimes she gives me her iPod touch and asks me to play her round against some of her friends from work so I can get her more points! So that’s why I was Googling; I wasn’t doing it to beat her! I didn’t know what those words meant though. I think “tropical weevil” is my favorite! I love learning new words! I’m such a dork, haha.

    • Is it bad that I’m tempted to get an iPod touch solely for Words with Friends? Everyone always talks about how much fun it is … I want to join in! I love that Caitlin enlists your assistance when she’s playing against her friends. Did you get her lots of points? ;-)

      The tropical weevil one made me laugh out loud when I found it. I play on Pogo, and it comes with a dictionary so you can look up all the definitions. That one was just too amusing not to check out! And hey, I’m a dork right along with you then – discovering new words is FUN!!

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