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Friday, September 11, 2009

Website of the Week -- Language is a Virus

Language is a virus… and I am happily infected.

All right, I admit that was so cheesy you could slap it between two slices of bread and grill it, but with a website name like that, I just couldn’t resist. is a fun place to go if you’re fresh out of story ideas or if you just want to kill some time. There are plenty of writing games and prompts to inspire you or just make you laugh, from a Cut Up Machine that butchers song lyrics and sews them back together à la Frankenstein to a Madlib poem generator. I tried out the latter and was delighted to find out my poem was based off of Sylvia Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song.” My result was significantly less spectacular than the original and of course makes no sense whatsoever but it was an amusing exercise all the same, and I ended up with some great inadvertent alliterations.

Just for kicks and giggles, here is an excerpt from my masterpiece, “joyful party’s joyful party” (you can tell it’s a winner just from the title alone!):

I walk my runners and all the wastebasket worrys watch;
I slap my rings and all is bowl again.
(I hasten I write you up inside my hairtie.)

The toenails go inquiring out in rocky and golden,
And serious shoe cuts in:
I slice my dog and all the book cycles desk.

I typed that you bashed me into Kleenex
And pound me creepily, punched me quite paperthin.
(I hasten I write you up inside my hairtie.)

cardboard box strokes from the mousepad, glass's water bottles rush:
kick keyboard and cell phone's backpack:
I slice my dog and all the book cycles desk.

- Cortney & Sylvia Plath

Pretty good, huh? Okay, I can hear you questioning my sanity from here; stop it.

There are also other tools for writers, like character name generators (again, I found these more entertaining than helpful, especially when the generator spits out names like Anakin Lalaine Wednesday, who is clearly the offspring of Han Solo and Wednesday Addams) and essays on topics like How to create a modern novel or Surrealism. You can also post your poems and/or stories or participate in the site’s Exquisite Corpse.

The text collage is one of the cooler features on the site. Called linguasso, a hybrid of lingual and Picasso, each collage is generated randomly. Linguasso picks an emotion and then randomly displays words and sentences associated with that emotion in varying fonts, sizes and spaces on the page. The collages are fascinating to look at, especially since they’re done in only black and white, letting the words speak for themselves.

Now go forth and infect yourself!

Note: The shirt in the picture is just one I found. doesn’t actually sell “Language is a virus” shirts. Sorry.

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