Make #3 At Last!

While I was enjoying all the game-creations this week, I was struggling to create one on my own. My first idea was inspired by the Brian Kelley’s film-image-race: His game involving linked film images reminded me of Renga, a form of Japanese poetry described by the Academy of American Poets as:

Renga, meaning “linked poem,” began over seven hundred years ago in Japan to encourage the collaborative composition of poems. Poets worked in pairs or small groups, taking turns composing the alternating three-line and two-line stanzas. Linked together, renga were often hundreds of lines long, though the favored length was a 36-line form called a kasen. Several centuries after its inception, the opening stanza of renga gave rise to the much shorter haiku.

To create a renga, one poet writes the first stanza, which is three lines long with a total of seventeen syllables. The next poet adds the second stanza, a couplet with seven syllables per line. The third stanza repeats the structure of the first and the fourth repeats the second, alternating in this pattern until the poem’s end.

Contemporary practitioners of renga have eased the form’s traditional structural standards, allowing poets to adjust line-length, while still offering exciting and enlightening possibilities. The form has become a popular method for teaching students to write poetry while working together.

And then, this morning, BrainPickings provided the inspiration I was looking for! Two of my passions merged – an alphabet book and a simple word game. Here’s the amazing book, one to surely add to my alphabet book collection:


My adaptation would be to make it a “One Letter – More or Less” game of story telling modeled after the book but allowing for letter additions as well as subtractions.

So, while  “the Cramp lost it’s R and could now go to camp” there’s also the possibility of, “The hose finding a U and building a house.” See what I mean? But the book by Michael Escoffier (author) and Kris Giacomo (illustrator) is the true game-starter! I will post this in our Facebook space just in case anyone wants to try it out together. Which makes me think of a challenge – how to make this a collaborative game? Could the sentences created by each person be linked to the previous one in some way or is that too restrictive? What if only the letters were designated, so rename the game “GRACE: More or Less” – and each sentence uses the next letter in the name. I’ll start:

I was having TEA when the G opened the garden GATE.

Anyone want to take the next letter – R?

My reflection on this week of making is this: Staying connected both within the community (seeing the variety of game types being created) and outside the community (staying tuned-in to a site like BrainPickings) makes making happen! Maybe not right away, maybe not easily. But the ideas gathered even randomly over time can roll themselves up into a manageable seed of creativity. Thank you to the CLMOOC community!

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