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1. Context - I played Scrabble alone b/c I was in trouble and being ignored.

2. Can you follow the conversation? What could make it clearer?

3. How old do you think the child is in this scene? Why?

I invited myself to join the game of Scrabble I never finished thirty years ago. I went first. Vertical. FRIEND. Little Kelly’s turn. Horizontal, ending on the E in Friend: TROUBLE. My turn. Vertical, starting with the L in Trouble: LOVE. Her turn. Horizontal. ALONE ending with the E in love. My turn. Vertical, surrounding the E in alone: PRESENT. Her turn. Horizontal. SHAME beginning with the S in present. My turn. HERE vertical from the H in Shame. Her turn. She’s not sure what word to write. It is the only way she will communicate, through the letters. She is too afraid I will end up ignoring her too. This is much safer than talking. She looks at me, frightened and small, seated cross-legged, back straight. She holds my gaze. I don’t even smile because I know she won’t trust it. She needs to feel safe, not have me explain it to her. She goes back to TROUBLE. Then changes her mind. She hesitates on FRIEND. She adds two letters in front of the D. BA. Her eyes are locked on the gameboard, tears welling up making it all blurry. Our conversation is now a smear of memory. I go back to HERE. I make my first horizontal word. HUG from the H. She looks up at me, unsure if she can trust me. 

  • Follow it - yes. (At least in theory. The described play isn't possible as it creates secondary words (and non-words) - ON and VD - when placing LOVE, and PRESENT overlaps preexisting tiles.)

    I'm thinking Little Kelly is 6 or 7 at the time.

    The one thing I'm not sure about is how this is happening. Not the metaphysical, but the surrounding space. Are you both looking at the board form the same side? Or is one of you (assuming the present you) looking at it upside down?

    Also: points? Letter/word multipliers? I expected at least one party to be interested, or have a mention of express disinterest.

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    • Hi Rick,

      Thanks for the feedback. She is about twelve years old. I love your Scrabble knowledge! I haven't written who wins yet. You've inspired me to have Little Kelly call out the mistakes. And have to accept that it is okay. Wow. I'm really grateful for your feedback. 

      Please don't feel like you have to read this, but this is what happened before this scene. I wrote them separately and your question and comments helped me put them together. I feel like I owe you Rick !!!


      I added an ending based on your comments. It's been like fifteen minutes since I started this post and in that time, I've put together all three parts of the story: set-up / game / resolution. I'm not sure how it reads but I really enjoyed crafting it. 

      Thanks again,

      Kelly en Cali ! 

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    • "…don't feel like you have to read this…" Yeah, right. What are friends for, eh?

      Maybe it's that I was only half awake, maybe that there's something that comes before it to give context, but I found the set-up confusing. It's in the little details. It felt disjointed (continuity), and I think some little details need to be called out: yes, phones were rarities back then, but remind us how big they were, too.

      I like the emotion in the resolution. However, i think it needs to be merged into the game. Call out those other "words" when playing LOVE. So, instead of just the positive-negative beats of the two sets of words in quick-fire succession, it's those beats interspersed with the emotional impact of the argument over rules / acceptance of their subversion. And actually map out what the board looks like as you play (in a spreadsheet/table):







      With this position, how do you play PRESENT? Horizontal of FRIEND?

      An alternate layout is FRIEND vertical, from the double-letter F (14pt), TROUBLE crossing the R (double word, 18pt), LOVE vertical to the E (d-word, 14pt), ALONE crossing the O (d-word, 10pt), PRESENT into the top corner (triple word and d-letter S, 30pt!), SHAME using E in friend (d-letter M, 13pt), BAD off trouble (d-word, 12pt)… and upgrade to HUGS onto shame (d-word, 16pt).

      Adding in the points as you play could reveal some interesting emphasis on the impact of the exchange on Little Kelly. (Scores could be modified if any of the letters are replaced with the 0-point blank tiles.)

      And, because I needed to work that out, the spreadsheet is attached.

      p.s. I love the "Kelly en Cali" sig.

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      • I've just seen, also, that your layout could have ALONE through the O in TROUBLE, which allows PRESENT across the E in LOVE, while also making FRIENDS, so lots of extra points.

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        • Kelly Ronsheimer  , this is lovely, the back and forth is touching, in few words you get deeper and deeper, I was pulled in.

          Rick Yagodich , I'm never, ever playing Scrabble with you! ;-)

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          • Whyever not? I analysed that "offline" - no one ever acused me of being good at the game in real time.

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            • Thanks Giselle. It came to me while I was in savasana at the end of a yoga session. Healing. Still in progress.

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            • I’m still working on this. I’m letting it sit for now. Rick, your analytical side is so impressive. I do not think that way and find your attention to detail fascinating, especially in your writing. Incredible.

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              • 1. Don't need to know that. Not necessary before reading the piece.

                2. Yes

                3. No idea. Don't care.

                Very clever, very engaging. Love it!

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                • Kelly Ronsheimer  Corpse pose, much more difficult than it seems. Hope yoga helps. It definitely keeps me grounded. 

                  On rereading, one thing that stuck out a bit was little Kelly seeing blurry through the tears, as this is a POV switch. Perhaps have a tear land on a letter, marking big Kelly see it blurry? That way the point of view remains grounded. Just a thought to be ignored at will.

                  Rick Yagodich    OK then, we'll give it a shot.

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