My Mental Playthings, Straight from the Sandbox

bookQuick! What’s on your mind besides love, death, money, family, war, poverty, natural disasters, and the latest sports scores or celebrity gossip? Where do your thoughts wander when the weight of the world falls away? I’d really like to know, because for years my own mind has been getting tangled up in some form of word play, so I figure everyone else must have a similar problem. Otherwise, I might feel a little weird.

As a teenager, I spent hours thinking of book titles while I mowed the grass or did other mindless work.  At the time, they seemed like brilliant titles that publishers would love. If someone had offered me a job creating book titles at slave wages, I would have been thrilled.  Because I was doing the job for no pay anyway.

Now when my mind finds a window for reflection, when I’m engaged in mindless work or no work, I’m still playing with words. But rather than creating new book titles, I’m often mentally revising someone else’s work. And I’ve expanded beyond books into movies, television shows, and songs. As a kid I was satisfied just with titles, but now I have to revise themes, story lines, and characters in a way that titillates my admittedly warped sense of humor.

I have tried to stop playing in this word sandbox, but to no avail.  I’m addicted to mental word play, and there seems to be no remedy for it.  Although I’m suffering no apparent harm, I should probably be spending the mental time plotting my novel. I salve my conscience by assuming that my word play is a mental warm-up for producing something more valuable, and without it I would fall into writer’s block. As well, since I’m often writing about serious human failings in various forms, my mind apparently craves the challenge of creating comedy occasionally.

So rather than fight it, or berate myself for doing it, I decided to share some of the results of these revisions in my blog.  These revisions pose no threat at all to the stature of the source material, nor are they meant to disrespect other authors (for many of my favorites such as Margaret Atwood and Yann Martell they’re instead a kind of tribute). So these are just my mental playthings.

What are your (family friendly!) mental playthings?  I’d like to know where your mind goes in spare moments. Do you engage in any kind of word play? Please explain in the comments section below.  I would love for you to offer your own revised book or movie title. You may do so on this page or by clicking on the Comment link at the top of any blog post. Use a title that interests you or borrow one that I have posted. Above all, have fun with it. The Internet is awash in heavy topics and harsh attitudes, while our spirit sometimes needs nurturing with humor and a light touch. Seriousness is hereby banished from my blog. Seriously.