Chocolate, booze, and word games = ingredients for a perfect evening.
A room full of fellow word-geeks? More perfect still!
Saturday night I attended a fundraiser for a local nonprofit called Write Around Portland, which brings writing to marginalized communities such as those within jails, shelters, and rehabs; and to marginalized people such as at-risk kids, battered women, and the mentally ill. As the moderator said, writing can be worthwhile, transformative, and healing.
I feel like I’m supposed to write a deeply felt and meaningful post because it’s a wonderful cause. If I ever get my act together in true humanitarian style, Write Around Portland is the organization I’ll join…truly…
But, shoot…Can I just write about the interactive writing and word games instead?
I love word games, love love love word games. From prompts, we typed wacky stories one sentence at a time with old typewriters. We taped nonsense sentences to the wall (reminiscent of those refrigerator word magnets) in a game called “word salad.” We played Mad Libs, Boggle, boardless speed-Scrabble, and, the best fun yet, Wordigo poker.
I didn’t bid in the silent auction for moleskin journals customized by artists and local luminaries. However, I participated in my own way by drinking one too many herbal-infused vodka tonics.
Everywhere, glasses filled with mini red scrolls revealed writing from Write Around Portland participants. Now, I bring you the deeply felt and meaningful portion of this post.
Excerpt from a teen boy in residential drug and alcohol treatment:
Some people say I’m a lost boy.
Some people say I’ve lost my joy.
Some people say I should go on home.
Some people say I’ve been shot at.
Some people say I’ve shot back.
Some people say they know my life.
Some people say they know my struggles and my fights.
Some people say you weren’t good for me.
Some people say I’m a boy who’s dumb.
Some people say I’m a boy who’s in love.
Excerpt from a veteran living with PTSD:
I come from a long line of people stretchng back to a dim beginning. We were tribes with names and languages of melodious strains, and a certain knowledge of all things in the world. There were particular ways to tend to the rounds of the day, the seasons, the years…
But those voices are quiet now, long dead and mostly forgotten. I am the last of the lone scouts, working my way to the far distant shore. I carry memories of things I cannot know, and am called to speak stories I never heard. The old ones wait to see if I can find my voice before my sweet short passage ends…