My grandson Eliott recently introduced me to a word game online called Wordle. Choose random words and see if the letters jive with those of the mystery word. Initially, it seemed impossible to find the letters to place in perfect order in the blocks — clues that lead to the right guess. It was confusing. It was frustrating. My interest, however, piqued and I got hooked after I guessed the mystery word, with several attempts, of course. That one correct answer made me want to play some more.
Eliott and I played this during his 2-minute breaks during his piano lessons. All these, at facetime. Now, every time I facetime with my grandson to watch and listen to his piano practice, I not only look forward to his music performance, but also to the short breaks that might be sufficient time for us to play wordle again and again.
This brings to mind another word game that my husband and I spent numerous hours on, that it felt almost like an addiction many, many years ago – Scrabble.
When our children were little kids, we waited for them to take their usual naps or go to bed so we could pull out the scrabble board and tiles, the paper and pen for score keeping, and with juice or coffee beside us, settled comfortably at the dining table or on the floor for hours and hours of challenging each other at scrabble.
Winning scrabble is not all skill. Much has to do with luck, randomly picking the high-scoring letters. But I also think that much has to do with strategy – like waiting for opportunities to find letters that would form a word using all seven tiles. This strategy calls for patience, something I sometimes didn’t have. My contender-husband often ended up springing on me SCRABBLE! As is the usual case, the loser urges for another game to redeem oneself. So, another game, another bout, and on and on, till the clock warned that too many hours had passed.
When we realized that we were spending too much of our free time on scrabble, we stopped and dabbled at it just occasionally. And of course, I never played it since my husband passed in 2015.
Words, words, words! Whether I’m playing with them for fun or for the grit of challenge, or working with them to create blogs or stories for my writing projects, they can be elusive. At times, it feels like a hide and seek game – they hide and I seek. If a rain dance could bring the rain, my word dance didn’t bring the words — thus, no posts on this site the past weeks.
But today, the words came, crystallizing this blog for me. It feels like a win. Not exactly like winning scrabble or hitting the mark in wordle, but definitely gratifying. Funny, the words came out of hiding. We play with them – but they play with us, even more.