Friday, June 15, 2012


     When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to live near a river. Not just any river--a tidal one. We were far enough upstream to be considered inland, but twice a day faintly salty water swept in and out of the swamp between our house and the water. The river, the swamp, and the upland woods were my playgrounds, sources of mystery, avenues to other worlds unknown to my parents.
      I'm still lucky enough to live near a river, though the water I hear in my sleep at night, bubbling over rocks and tree roots, is more mountain stream than tidal river. Different, but still a place of dreams. The small pond downhill from my home is yet another world of mystery, full of frogs, turtles, herons, and--who knows?--maybe aliens. A source of inspiration circling me back to my childhood.
     The other bit of luck I had when I was growing up was to live in a family that loved words. My parents read to me, bought me books (I memorized My Picture Dictionary  long before I learned to read), played word games in the car. I don't know how many sets of Scrabble we wore out. We made up words and sang silly songs we created. Once I learned to read properly, you could find me either nose-down in a book or knee-deep in water. Sometimes both.
     So here I am, many decades and hundreds of miles from the Raritan River. After earning a degree in French (new words in a delicious foreign language!), I grew up to be a songwriter, author and editor, and rivers are an essential part of my life. Water and words. Either can take me away to incredible places. With both, there is no place I can't go.
     Welcome to Scriveners River!

Here's a word game we used to play. It's non-competitive and can go on as long as you want.
The first person offers a three letter word: OWL
The next person can do one of several things:
  1. Change a letter: AWL
  2. Move  a letter: LOW
  3. Add a letter: OWLS
  4. Drop a letter: OW
Each player has the same options in each turn. Keep going until you run out of alternatives, come to the end of your journey, or fall asleep.
What kind of word games did you play?


  1. Sounds like a fun game! I always liked the round robin story game: someone starts telling/making up a story. After a few sentences,the turn passes to the next person, who adds a few more sentences. No real rules, except you can't cancel out what the previous storytellers have done. Keeps kids occupied on long car trips!

    1. It's also helpful when you can't fall asleep! Thanks for stopping in.

  2. The Raritan? Are you a Jersey kid? I still live near a river myself, now the Hudson, across from Manhattan. Still a Jersey girl.

    All the best,

    Jacqueline Seewald

    1. The Hudson--now there's a river! Yep, I'm a Jersey gal. Born in Elizabeth but I don't remember anything about it, since we moved to New Brunswick when I was 2. I lived there until I was 13, and never felt truly at home again for many years. Given the changes in my old neighborhood, there's no chance of returning there.
      Thanks for stopping in!

  3. Way to go comments are working now. I think I had a charmed childhood I was able to go out all day with my sister and the girls next door. Visiting the woods or the seaside no worries. Could not let kids have that kind of freedom any more.

    1. Yes, my sister and I ran wild all the time. It was only years later that we learned my mother could see us from the kitchen window! At least while we were in the woods. I know for a fact that she couldn't see us at the caves, because she once organized a search party when I got trapped there by the incoming tides. Kids have lost that sense of freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. A big shame.