i was afraid of worms, roxanne, worms!

alison's word jumble
alison's word jumble

this is a word jumble my mother made me a few months ago. my mother is not in the general habit of making word jumbles for people, but she had the idea and some time to kill and thought it would be fun for both of us. “they’re all things about you,” she said as she handed me the puzzle and a pencil. “things you like, things you do, stuff like that.”

my guesses off to the sides in pencil were not genuine guesses. they were joke answers to make my mom laugh, although i suppose BOGGLER wouldn’t have been too far off. i didn’t figure out the one on the bottom right until a few days later, so i never wrote it in. any guesses?

while i was solving the word jumble, i thought about what it meant. sure, it was funny and challenging and a nice surprise, but what the word jumble really meant was this: all my interests and talents could be whittled down into seven words. seven words. it freaked me out. by no means was this my mother’s fault–all she did was make a word jumble for her melodramatic daughter who reads too much into everything. but seven words! seven words to describe me feels both limiting and like too many options. i’ve always wished that, instead of my varied and debatable talents, i had a singluar obsession. i wish i possessed something obvious, something that would make people say, “alison was born to play darts. humanity needs alison to play darts. if alison doesn’t become a famous and successful dart player who revolutionizes the game of darts, something is wrong with the world.”

darts, you understand, are only one example. after all, i have six other options to choose from. did you know i’m afraid of writing? i bet you didn’t know, but i’m sure you could have figured it out. i haven’t really written anything i wanted to write in about a month, and it’s not for lack of ideas. see?

  1. the next (previous?) jail story installment
  2. about the creepy guy at the state inspection place, the one with the gold tooth
  3. captions for my labor day photos
  4. how i found out i may be racist and/or classist and didn’t even know it
  5. how sorting shoes at community service made me think of garbage, nail polish, fashion, plantar warts, women in high heels, and the vastness of the universe
  6. the dream i had where i went undercover to prevent the bombing of a building and save the world (or at least the city block, anyway) from annihilation.
  7. about how, when you really think about it, my job is pretty meaningless.

anyway, i’ve done this before. “i’ve been trying so hard to make sure everything reads perfectly, sounds exactly the way i want it to. i edit the life right out of everything i write before it’s finished, before it’s even started,” i said at the time, and it’s still true nearly a year later.

the significance of the fact that “writer” isn’t one of my seven options does not escape me.