Monday, January 31, 2011

An invitation to word play

Book available here.

The notebook I keep by the computer is called A GOREY Journal, featuring the art and words of Edward Gorey.  It contains a number of his "Thoughtful Alphabets," an example of which follows and presents an opportunity for word play.


Always burn correspondence.
Disregard everybody.
Faint gracefully.
Howsoever interpret John Keats.
Learn macrame.
Nibble only.
Protest quid pro quos.
Remember seasons turning.
Untangle vines.
Walk extensively yonder.

Here is my first attempt:

Abandon bureaucratic claptrap.
Dally enthusiastically.
Find Godot.
Heartily interrogate jackanapes.
Look menacing naturally.
Orate, pontificate.
Quell rumors steadfastly.
Unexamined wretched excess yields zilch.

I hope you will compose your own alphabets to share in the comments, be they thoughtful or otherwise.  No limit - and, as you see in Mr. Gorey's eXample, there is leeway in certain areas.  Enter early, enter often.

Illustration from


T. said...

Love love love this! I've been a Gorey fan forever... You've given me an assignment; I'll get right to work on it!

Kelly Kilmer said...

So very clever! How much I love Gorey!

susan t. landry said...

i'm in!
(i hope to visit his home this summer; it's been opened up, on Cape Cod...)
here is some info, and, btw, just discovered this, a pretty damn cool blog. whoa:

Marylinn Kelly said...

T - Can't wait to hear back from you. Thanks for taking on the assignment.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kelly - I suppose my son is fortunate not to be named Figbash. Uniquely inspirational, Mr. Gorey.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Looking forward to a report from Cape Cod this summer, and to your alphabet. Thank you for the link, a little breath of the "other" to see me through the afternoon...and the Gorey post's link to the gift, very cool.

Melissa Green said...

Oh, Marylinn, your alphabet is stellar! And what a fun assignment. You had me chuckling, and feeling proud for your sake. I too love Gorey. I may not have enough words for an alphabet with which to properly honor him, but Ill enjoy reading! Thanks! xo

Kelly Kilmer said...

I have a whole post here on when I visited Edward Gorey's home a few years ago. I'm still talking about the visit almost 4 years later.

I can't wait to go back...

Radish King said...

The calendar I keep by my computer at My Glamorous Job is an Edward Gorey calendar.

wv : sautra : a mantra in a sauna

Antares Cryptos said...

This is great:) I'm familiar with Gorey's art, but not his writing. Thank you for adding to my book shelf, very "thoughtful" :). I was just about to order more books, the tactile paper kind ;)

Is it voyeuristic to like other people's lists? If not, you probably have this already), thought I'd return the favor: "Lists. To-dos. Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts and Other Artists' Enumerations" by Liza Kirwin.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - There is no deadline. As long as this blog stands, alphabets will be welcome. No hurry. Thank you for speaking kindly of mine. Of course I would have liked to spend the day inventing more. Enough can be a blurry line.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kelly - Thank you for giving us the link to your Gorey close encounter. (I will read it in a minute.) Additional reply to follow.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - It makes me happy to think of you at Y.G.J. with Mr. Gorey and his denizens for company.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares Cryptos - If it is voyeuristic to like other people's lists, then we are mostly guilty. And I don't know Liza Kirwin's book. Add it to the, ahem, list. Glad to expand your Gorey-ana.

Claire Beynon said...

I'm in, too, Marylinn - it may take me a while, but as you say, we have all the time we need.

Your list is excellent! The links to various sites have been fun, too (having grown up on the other side of the world from him, there is a lot of 'new' and exciting here!). Thanks ++. ox

Claire Beynon said...

Alter buildings charismatically. Doodle everywhere. Forget grievances. Hollow igloos. Juggle limes. Mentor naughty ostriches purposefully. Question rabbits seriously. Treasure uncle's vole. Whistle. Experience yawns zealously.

(I couldn't resist giving it a 'here-now' go!)

Robert the Skeptic said...

Although Bob creates dramatic edits, further glimpses harbor intense jargon keenly loquacious, meaning neither opinion, prejudice, quiescence - rather straining to understand voices, whether xenophobic, yelling zealots.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kelly - Addendum...Thanks so much for letting us see the Gorey House through your eyes. Nice to be treated as (recognized as!) visiting royalty. Makes a blogger's heart happy. I hope you get to return soon. Would I love a big Doubtful Guest sculpture...I guess he would have to stand on top the air conditioner, no lawn, no balcony. We could string him with lights at Christmas.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - You are so welcome...if his is a new world, there is much to discover. I look forward to you alphabet.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Oh wonderful. I'm glad you took a here/now approach. Really, this is the sort of fun one could have anywhere, any time, chuckling to one's self in a crowded waiting room. I am really not that fond of my uncle's vole, but I'll do my best.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - Hooray, you jumped right in with the narrative approach, something I want to try next. Thank you and your dramatic edits so much. I hope you had a good time.

Anonymous said...


how long has it been since I've heard that word??

Ok... game on..

Anonymous said...

At best,
children do envisage
future generations,
having intuitively justified knowledge
of many nefarious offenses possibly questioning reality.

Suppose their undervalued vividness

(ine)xorably your

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - Yes, jackanapes. Good, game on.

Part B - All right. Thank you so much. I really like the narrative version, possibly questioning reality. How fine to have your submission here for readers to enjoy.

DB Stewart said...

A teen now, my son can be a bit of a reluctant reader sometimes, so I bet him I could find a book he would love. I gave him "The Gashlycrumb Tinies." I won the bet.

Marylinn Kelly said...

DBS - You won the bet and I imagine your son found someone whose books will never disappoint, will always cause that hybrid laugh/shudder that Gorey produces in all his fans. So nice to see you here. Thank you for commenting.