Galumphing

When I took the Creative Writing Course, that Ann Linquist leads, I was introduced to this new-to-me method of freeing up the brain lock that can occur with writing or really any creative process. The word itself is a nonsense word made up by Lewis Carroll. It means to move around clumsily or heavily. But in this class, it was used to take seemingly unrelated words or phrases and create a poem or some kind of prose with each included. Below is what I wrote for my first stab at the process:

  • Garbage Can
  • Scorpion
  • Thunderstorm

There once was a large garbage can. A really large garbage can. It was so large that it had its own atmosphere. One day while plundering around in this garbage can universe, a less than curious creature found something. He wasn’t sure what it was. He didn’t really care all that much. He was looking for his breakfast. The thing he did find was in a ball. The ball rattled and hummed when he moved it. At first the scorpion was startled by the noise and vibration. Since it didn’t look like it would be very good for breakfast he tossed it aside. When it crashed into the filth beside him it made even more noise and lit up briefly. The flash of white light ran across the face of the ball. Turning to the light the scorpion thought that it might actually be a nice toy for his pleasure later. Since he was a scorpion he had no pockets. So he had to carry the ball on his back. But the ball didn’t want to stay. It would roll to the side with a clamor and glow. Frustrated with the ball he decided that he would just use his stinger to hold it into place. With precision he impaled the ball with his stinger. The ball reacted with a loud clap and white-hot light. The ball was vibrating on the end of his tail. He was getting annoyed with the ball. He decided that it was quite noisy and he no longer wanted the ball. He tried to pry the ball from his stinger, but it did not budge. The rumbling and flashing seemed to only grow more intense. In his frustration to rid himself of the ball he flung his tail this way and that, banging the ball against whatever was around him. With one last burst of energy he launched the ball into the air. It zoomed to the top of his garbage can universe and cracked open. The inside of the ball expanded and boomed with streaks of light. Thanks to the annoyed scorpion the thunderstorm was born in the garbage can.

I had fun with this one. I really like this exercise. It “gets my motor running” in a literary sense. Ann, thanks for the introduction to the method. It is really fun.