Combine. Play. Hello.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes. Come closer now. Only you can see the writers, hunched over keyboards, in the clamoring cafes, the standing desks, and slouched couches. Only you can hear, in the mumbling craniums, the plot lines and character archs, world building and research notes, e-pub and agenting, notebooks and crazy rants, the plaque on the fridge saying “Sit in chair and write you ninny” and the yellowing, dogeared rejection slips, accreting and falling in mounded piles. 

Only you can hear the writer, crying in the streets for the perfect word, the perfect twist. Can I have a muffin now? And all the while, nouns and adverbs clatter, gerunding over scrabble.

Suggested Exercise:

Pick some language you love. In this case, Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.

Pick a theme you want to explore. In this case, writing and writers.

Combine. Play.


Hi, my name is Liz Argall. I do things with words, written, spoken, and intravenously. Sometimes I do terrible things to Dylan Thomas, because it reminds me of how much I love language, and how much more I have to master.

Written words are fossilized tongues, I love how they can organically tumble. Written words are like circus performers, effortless effort, honed to precision through patient craft, exploring new tricks, and falling many times during the experiment. I dance with words, am frustrated by words, peek under their edges, and seek new discoveries.

Back in Australia my most prolific modes of creation were systemless roleplaying games (stuff like this, which was one hell of a game to run 10 times over 3 days) and indy comics. The first thing I did when we moved to America was to attend Clarion Writers’ Workshop (the one in San Diego), and that propelled me deep into the delicious land of prose. I love how different creative mediums complement, and argue, with each other.

Moving to Seattle, it’s been wonderful to be welcomed into the Clarion West community. I miss my alma mater desperately sometimes, but the company of such splendid comrades makes me feel very lucky indeed, thanks Horrific Miscue for having me.

This exercise was inspired by two things:

1)    Under Milk Wood is in my blood and is always looking for an opportunity to play.

2)    Bruce Holland Roger’s recent Odyssey online writing class (online classes, it turns out, are teh bomb… speaking of online classes, did you know that Horrific Miscue awesome lady Cat Rambo has online classes? She’ll tell you all about her latest offerings next week)

If you are inspired to do things to Under Milk Wood, or any other prose you love, I’d love to see it in the comments. Get down and dirty with your favorite language!

Happy travels



5 responses

  1. Pingback: Combine. Play. Hello. | Liz Argall

    • Thanks Diana. That is high praise indeed. Looking at your blog means that now I want to see Dylan Thomas rewritten as a series of images!

      • I’d hate to put a ‘should’ on you, but I do enjoy explicit riffing… I’m a bit to dim to pick up subtle salutes and I love that we get to be part of a continuum of creativity.

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