Word Paletting 2


(Click to go to Word Paletting 3)

Now, I don’t remember having purposely made a point to create this writing method and definitely don’t remember having reckoned the contrast that exists between this second word paletting version I used and the first one. To me, they were a refuge that facilitated my communicative ability to flourish, even when I was only minimally enabled to learn, remember, speak or compose.

The first thing, following my gargantuan stroke and surgeries, that I remember, is being back at home and having no idea what on earth was going to happen, next. At the time, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two. 

What I didn’t know, in reality, was that the ventricular shunt that had been installed in my brain to facilitate drainage of pressure and fluid had gone the way of the passenger pigeon, due to my having experienced  my growth spurt.

It seems ironic that it’s possible to OUT- grow something that has been purposely IN- stalled, ON the IN- side of one’s body; however, that is what happened to me, in 1987/1988. Just like in the first Word Paletting version, a writer begins by choosing the fulcrum or anchor term that is used to create the palette.

In the poem, below, the word, “TAIL”, was used as the anchor; in order not to discourage one’s self, it is recommended that a word that has many uses and alternative meanings, in com-mon speech and communication, be used. “TAIL”, and its homophone, “TALE”,  can be and was used.

It might make things easier on an LD writer to use an “ANCHOR TERM” that has multiple, existent meanings and multiple different spellings, due to the greater ease that a writer can experience.

The less crayons in a box restricts a person’s ability to color, the less primary colors a painter has to construct his or her palette and the more homophones and homonyms a word has, the potential greater ease it will be able to provide a struggling  who   is   using  the Word Paletting process.

The user of this writing strategy should make a note of his or her anchor term, even though, the method, in contrast to the first Word Paletting tactic, is much, much easier to identify one’s creative fulcrum.

Here is the original palette that was used to “paint” the poem, loose ta(i)l(e).

 Title: Tail/Tale

07tied a tail          (kite)/(string)

13in spats & ta(i)l[e]s (metaphor

15aesop,…ta(i)l[e]s  (allusion) 

17& their silence;      (allusion) 

19 lizards lose                      (allusion)

20 their ta(i)l[e]s                (pun)

22…just half a ta(i)l[e].    (pun)

24…bog w/catta(i)l[e}fringe

25…its curly-ta(i)l[e]

30it, not even of its ta(i)l[e] 

32…ta(i)l[e], we had  

34…of a comet            

35never-minding ta(i)l[e]

36winds, sipping 

37cockta(i)l[e]s, thru out

38time&space, a ways away 

39from planet earth, which,

40bytheway, has not a ta(i)l[e] 

As a learning disabled individual, who has a hampered memory, it was amazingly cool to have concocted this method. This is true, in that, instead of being stymied by the goings-on that are inherent in many, if not all, conventional writing lessons and curricula, the process one uses in word paletting allows for repetition, repetition, repetition, if not necessitates it.

loose ta(i)l[e]s

long before the crucifixions,

beings crossed their fingers  

& two sticks, together,   

which theyd lash&stretch  a

skin a’cross, to form a kite, to 

which theyd tie a ta(i)l[e] &,   

soon enough, the acrobat stunt

flyer looped twine around its   

thumbs in making its kites 

dance their jig; only, dressed to

kill, in spats & dance their jig; 

only, dressed ta(i)l[e]s, a

bigtop hat upon their

head, like aesop, w/ his yarns &

ta(i)l[e]s of snips & snails; or,     

deadmen & their silence, while

 of course, is made of gold/will 

never stay, like lizards lose 

ta(i)l[e]s; but they can make 

 up new ones, unlike cats; this, i 

know; our six-toed cat has just   

half a ta(i)l[e];  he skulks along,

w/feathers on his mind, into the

bog w/ catta(i)l[e] fringe, where

i recall a fence swift, w/its curly 

-ta(i)l[e], had scaled a tree, 

in ’86, when halleys comet  

passed us by; we failed to  

trap a glimpse of it: not even 

of its ta(i)l[e] &, w/o a 

even of its ta(i)l[e]on a 

planet &, w/o a ta(i)l[e], we 

ta(i)l[e], we had no right; 

‘tho, some would love had  

no right; ‘tho, some would 

love to be aboard the coat- 

ta(i)l[e]s of a comet, nevermind 

-ing ta(i)l[e] winds, sipping

[e]s, thru -out time & space a  

ways away from planet earth,

which, bytheway, has not a ta(i)l[e] 

The method that was used to write this poem was not difficult.

Forthcoming, I will show, step-by-step, exactly how it was arrived at.

01loose ta(i)l[e]s

02long before the crucifixions,

03beings crossed their fingers

04& two sticks, together, as

05theyd lash &; stretch a skin

06a cross, to form a kite, to

07which theyd tied a ta(i)l[e];

08&, soon enough, the acrobat

09-stuntflyer looped twine

10around its thumbs, in makig

11it kites dance their jig;

12only, dressed to kill, in spats

13&; ta(i)l[e]s, a bigtop hat,

14upon their head, like aesop,

15w/ his yarns & ta(i)l[e]s of

16snips & snails; or, deadmen

17& their silence; which, of

18course, is made of gold, will

19never stay, like lizards lose

20their ta(i)l[e]s:

21unlike cats; this, i know; 

22our 6-toed cat, w/ half a 

23ta(i)l[e] skulks along, 

24w/feathers on his mind,   

25into the bog w/catta(i)l[e] 

26fringe, where i recall a 

27fence swift, w/ its 

28curlyta(i)l[e], had scaled a 

29tree, in ’86, when halley’s passed 

30 us by; we failed to trap a glimpse

31 of it: not even of it’s ta(i)l[e]; yet,

32 we are on a planet &, w/o a taile

32 it, not, even, of its tail; planet &,

33 w/o a ta(i)l[e], we had no right;  

34 ‘tho, some would love to be 

35 aboard the coat -ta(i)l[e]s of a 

36 comet, never-minding    

37 ta(i)l[e]s winds, sipping   

38 cockta(i)l[e]s, thru out time

39 & space, a ways away 

40 from planet earth; which,

41 bytheway, has not a ta(i)l[e]

Decide upon the word or word pair that your poem will use as its fulcrum, in this case: TAIL; by virtue of the alternative spelling of “tail”, “tale”, your palette             can be expanded.

01 loose ta(i)l[e]s

03 tied a ta(i)l[e]                  (to a kite)

04 spats & ta(i)l[e]s            (personification)

05aesop, w/his yarns&ta(i)l[e]s (allusion)

06of snips & snails             (allusion)

07deadmen & their silence        (allusion)

 08lizards lose their ta(i)l[e]s.  (pun)

09 half a ta(i)l[e]s                       (pun)

10 cat ta(i)l[e]

11 fence swift, w/ its curly- ta(i)l[e]

12 not even of its ta(i)l[e];       (fact)

13 on a planet,

14 &, w/o a ta(i)l[e]            (w/o a tail)

15 aboard the coat

16 -ta(i)l[e]s of a comet   (absurdity)

17 never-minding ta(i)l[e] winds,

18 sipping cockta(i)l[e]s,           (situational)

19 bytheway, has not a ta(i)l[e]

As you can see, each term or phrase that I used contains the word, “tail” or “tale”. When I was trying to re-emerge as a writer in my early post-massive stroke/brain surgery days, it was difficult for me to hold a thought in my head very long; I am not kidding when I say that I could not, in general, remember things after a number of minutes (sometimes, this was less than 1 minute) By virtue of this fact, life became extremely difficult.

Anyway, after you deposit those last two tears in a bucket, I’ll continue. In my mind, the word, “tail”, was objective, based on the fact that it has no syntactic bearing on what the poem, loose ta(i)l[e]s, “means”…it was just a word I used to gather poetic (or communicative) kindling and as well, it was correlative, due to the fact that many of the poem’s words were connected to or “correlative” to the word, “ta(i)l[e]“, too.

However, in reality, T.S. Eliot gleaned the concept of the Objective Correlative from an 18th century painter/writer: Washington Allston. The ironic thing about their concept of objective correlative is the fact that it doesn’t really have to do with what the two words actually mean, together.

Stupid me, I didn’t realize this until I was enrolled in a doctoral level class in which the professor assigned us, on the first day of the semester, the task of choosing two concepts to guide us, throughout the semester on which to concentrate. I can’t even recall the second concept I focused on, due to all the nearly-twenty year old egg I felt upon my face. The cavern walls of the rabbit hole were tie-dyed…this let me know how long I’d been wrong.

In fact, from what I was able to determine, upon researching the original “objective correlative”, the concept is almost antithetical to what I conceived of as the meaning of Objective Correlative.

My take on it was that it was a poetic method that used a list of generated words that were simultaneously OBJECTIVE and CORRELATIVE. Thereby, I just assumed that using a list of words that were simultan-eously related to a central term (in this case: TAIL or TALE) and that were, as well not really related or that were objective of one another.

This was how my amazingly hampered brain was working; especially before I underwent my final operation, during which a second ventricular shunt was installed to facilitate release cephalic fluid and pressure. I really wanted to rejoin the world I was forced to leave behind.

However, due to the failing shunt,  I was forced, like Rudolph, not to join in any reindeer games; then, in the last days of December, of 1987, it came down to my general practitioner, once again. I had been under the care of several highly-regarded specialists /neurologists upon my arrival back in the United States; none of these individuals could figure out what was going on.

For all I know, they all probably figured that I was only going to amount to so much, in the rest of my life; however, a non-specialist: my damned pediatrician!…finally…cracked the code! In the third or fourth week of December of 1987, I entered the University of Maryland Hospital, in Baltimore.

Dr. Walker Robinson (who is not my pediatrician, mind you) performed a surgery to replace the first shunt that had been installed, previously, at the Johns Hopkins University hospital.

You see, the problem was that, in addition to not being sure to leave enough slack in the first shunt they installed, Hopkins allowed my nervous system to be invaded by Spinal Meningitis. This caused my blood temperature to rise to 107°F, very nearly killed me, potentially presented me my short-term memory deficit with which I am still forced to contend, still, 25 years later. I also have hemiparesis (weakness on one side of my body); this, I think, was likely caused by the last stroke.

01 loose ta(i)l[e]s

03 tied a ta(i)l[e]

04 spats & ta(i)l[e]s

05 aesop, w/his yarns&ta(i)l[e]s

06 of snips & snails

07 deadmen & their silence

08 lizards lose their ta(i)l[e]s

09 half a ta(i)l[e]s

10 cat ta(i)l[e]

11 fence swift, w/its curly ta(i)l[e]

12 not even of its ta(i)l[e];

13 & 14 on a planet, &, w/o a tail

15 & 16 aboard the coat-ta(i)l[e]s of a comet

17 a comet neverminding ta(i)l[e]

18 winds, sipping cockta(i)l[e]s,

19 bytheway, has not a ta(i)l[e]

The way I started this Word Paletted poem was by creating its palette. I used the “correlative term” TAIL/TALE and generated a list of compound words and phrases that contained it. Bytheway, this poem’s title was added after the poem was completed.


-spats and tails -yarns and tales

-(deadmen tell no tales)

-lizards lose their tales

-planets have no tails / tales

-aboard the coattails of a comet

-sipping cocktails

-earth has not a tail

I just thought of sayings, statements and concepts that include the word tail or tale. As a rule, it seems to me that a writer who has difficulty initiating the act of writing could use this action, whether he or she is learning disabled, of English as a Second Language status or merely stumped for what to write.

Now, I can truly make the connection between my repeated use of the Word Paletting 2 method, especially during my profoundly cognitively-affected days, and why it’s so easy for me to write, revise and add to text that I create.

This ease is based on my ability to place the meaning-based and topic-based nature of what I was/am writing on autopilot and worry more about the effect of what I have composed on a reader’s mind, the same way that a piece of music affects the brain of a listener, rather than the meaning or message.

Especially instrumental music is, in my mind, this way. It’s my hypothesis that much “modern art” is the same, as well; only, modern art, affects the viewer. Even though my memory was incredibly hampered, I still yearned to thrive and act as a student; however, when you cannot remember things, it’s extremely difficult to learn.

As for me, I could hear, just as well as I could before my stroke/surgeries; my motor coordination was much more inaccurate than it had been, making it extremely difficult to write legibly or as quickly as I had been able to previously.

In a lot of ways, I was out of luck. To make things worse, I suffered from verbal aphasia, or “tip of the tongue disorder”. This jackass fiasco that I experienced made it so, even after my brain had had a little time to simmer down and reboot itself, thoughts would flood into my consciousness and I would be preparing to just spout them out; only, aphasia thwarted my ability to speak.

Literally, it was like I, would get the wording from my mind, into my mouth and onto my tongue and, at the end of my tongue, where the key to successful articulation existed, I would be prevented from speaking. I realize, now, that verbal aphasia, in conjunction with the hell of the experience of a profound short-term memory deficit, truly could have been enough to make me give up; I guess I was, luckily, too pigheaded to concede.

Oink, I said…(Note to reader, if you read Richard Brautigan’s book, The Abortion: An Historical Novel: 1966, you might see a little bit of similarity, in one full chapter, to the piggy comments, peppered, herein; also, if you read Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s book, Slapstick, peppered throughout some of the book are sporadic bursts of, “Hi Ho!.)

To start, a person determines the “anchor” term or the term that correlates to all the other words, in the list. For the poem, loose ta(i)l[e]s, The anchor term is ta(i)l[e] and the rationale for spelling this word the way I have is the fact that it has a homophone (tale) that is pronounced the exact same way as the spelling of the original word, (tail).

I suggest the use of an anchor term that as many uses in ordinary conversational language as possible because this will make it easier for a person to make connections to and establish segues from the term.

The best way, especially as an individual with a short-term memory deficit, to go about successfully using this process, is to repeat it, over and over again, without losing track of the method by which the poem was created. This is accomplished more easily if the writer makes the anchor term part of the poem’s title. In fact, in looking at several of the more than 100-200+ poems I have written in the past 20 or so years, very few of them can necessarily be identified as being formulaic.

Yet, I know the truth. Several of my poems were written, using bizarre processes; this particular Word Paletting method leaves a fairly prominent breadcrumb trail. The problem is, that the process has several steps. This is the main reason why I have taken so long to document it. It was all in my head/brain and, due to my damaged brain, I was not able to retrieve it, at will.

When using word paletting the first one to one hundred, or more times, for some head trauma victims, it could be a good thing for them to limit the number of palette terms they generate, as a way to prevent massive gobs of frustration.

I think, as someone who has a half a trillion notebooks that contain at least a trillion unfinished poems, that completing a poem or anything else, for that matter, is really a good thing. That is why I suggest generating less palette terms.

Take, for example:

the busi-man

w/manicured  hands was held                                  

to the wall, still clutching his news

i wake up each newday, the radio

-news, chirping its static

the news of the rain

came showering down

The ironic thing about this poem is in the fact that I wrote it in Fall of 1987 or Spring of 1988 and, despite the fact that my school’s literary magazine rejected it when I submitted it, an independent journal in San Francisco, to which I submitted it, simultaneously, did publish it. After that, in my senior year, it was reprinted by my school’s pub.

One can think about the poem, the busi-man, as a means for becoming acclimated to the writing process and starting small, while building one’s communicative abilities, gradually. the busi-man contains only three uses of the word, “news”.

Actually, one can think about the process used for writing “the busi-man” as a means for becoming re-acclimated to the writing process or becoming acclimated differently to the act.

the busi-man

w/ manicured hands was held

to the wall still clutching his news

i wake up each new -day,

the radio-news, chirping its static

the news of the rain

came showering down

This is due to the fact that, prior to beginning to write, the creator establishes his or her correlative element; in the busi-man, I used the word, “news”.

-clutching his news

-the radio-news, chirping its static

-the news of the rain came showering down

The fact is: “less can be, or is, more.” I’ve been led to believe that many people who might read this poem might get a “dark space” opinion of my mindset I had when I wrote it; however, to the contrary, I actually was able to recognize, way back, in late ’87 or in ’88, that I had been able to produce something that didn’t holistically stink.

My ventricular shunt had stopped working and, even still, I saw the amazing facility of trying, if not succeeding, to create. This is what motivated me. Somehow, I managed to “construct” this poem, in my skull’s mental workshop and have its final product appear to be good enough to have an established periodical print it.

The weird thing that occurred after my failing shunt had been replaced was a voluminous outpour of poems. Many of them, I recognize, were really not good: at least, not good, in the way that I write poems, now.

Only, as long as a person attempts to write, or speak or think, he or she cannot go wrong, whether he or she is Learning Disabled, non-LD, shy, brow-beaten or none-of-the-aforementioned. There is no right or wrong: there is only WRITE.

01 loose ta(i)l[e]s

02 long before the crucifixions,

03 beings crossed their fingers

04 & two sticks, together,

05 as theyd lash & stretch a skin

06 a cross, to form a kite,

07 to which theyd tied a ta(i)l[e]

08 &, soon enough, the acrobat

09 -stuntflyer looped twine

10 around its thumbs,

11 in making it kites dance

12 their jig; only, dressed

13 to kill, in spats & ta(i)l[e]s,

14 a bigtop hat upon their

15 head, like aesop, w/ his yarns

16 & ta(i)l[e]s of snips & snails;

17 or, deadmen & their silence;

18 which, is made of gold, will

19 never stay, like lizards lose

20 their ta(i)l[e]s: unlike cats.

21 this, i know; our six-toed cat

22 has just half a ta(i)l[e]; he skulks

23 skulks along, w/feathers on his

24 mind, into the bog w/ cat

25 ta(i)l[e] fringe, where i recall

26 a fence swift, w/ its curly-

27 ta(i)l[e], had scaled a tree, in

28 ’86, when halleys comet

29 passed us by; we failed to

30 trap a glimpse of it, not even

31 of its ta(i)l[e]; yet, we are on a

32 planet, &, w/o a ta(i)l[e], we

33 had no right; ‘tho, some

34 would love to be aboard the

35 coatta(i)l[e]s of a comet:

36 neverminding ta(i)l[e] winds,

37 sipping cockta(i)l[e]s, thru

38 out time&space, a ways away

39 from planet earth, which, by

40 -theway, has not a ta(i)l[e]

WRITE is easily, once again, connected directly, to SPEAK, THINK, HEAR, RESPOND and RE-RESPOND; and, bytheway: OINK, again! The one thing I have seen in my classmates who were new to creative writing, much less, who were new to poetry writing, is the failure to start or self-start the act of writing creatively; Word Palet-ting 2 can be used to usher these same students, more easily, into the act of writing poetry, I think.

In reality, I can think back to elementary school, to before I experienced my first A.V.M. stroke and remember, despite the fact that I excelled in all subjects, I recognize that, communicatively, I really was enabled. Reading things over the P.A., for class-specific “things”, I really never experienced any problems, at all.


Contact me, via e-mail, at: mattramzzz@gmail.com

or on Facebook, at: www.facebook.com/mattramzzz1971


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