Tangram Cut-up — “28 to Make”

28 to make is a creativity challenge from CreativeLive. Participants create and share a quick sketch every day for 28 days. I’m doing the same but with words.

Each day in February, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes and write a “sketch” inspired by the prompt for the day.

Day 17: Cut-up

The prompt today involves playing with tangrams — those flat blocks in different shapes and colors you might remember from elementary school. Tangrams allow you to imagine new combinations of shapes and therefore stimulate your visual imagination. The verbal equivalent would probably be William S. Burrough’s cut-up technique.

I “found” the following in Esquire UK. Not having scissors handy, I plugged the text into an online cut-up machine and played with the structure and punctuation to make it semi-readable.


Time to go again before I’ve dried my boots off from the last wander. A little less young though still curious. Having been a drinker, I have places to see that I saw but don’t remember or wish I could forget. Still thawing out from the blizzard of regrets. Springtime in the sense of rebirth but also soggy ground. Grass under snow so long it forgot how to be green. Other times it's like old photographs, brights, and saturation that couldn’t possibly have looked that way to the eye. Like Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome,” like Beckett’s advice to “fail better.” Seeking new countries, new long-haul flights, and the backs of new seats, and the sort of person I might like to “fail better” with. Carting around an addict’s heart convinced the same old mistake might be different or at least feel new in Holland, in Cambodia, with a new day job, certified in SCUBA. Not England. Not not England. A relationship is not a democracy. A relationship shouldn’t be the Khmer Rouge either. Taking pictures, pictures on film, seeing pictures of Mosul makes me wonder the point of portraits of my friends. Sometimes a trip to a warzone seems like the ultimate for a guy who likes to change the subject. Could always shrug-off family struggles for their unimportance relative to what I might see there. Wanting to know what I want. Wanting to know what I don’t want. Wanting a reason to stop wanting. If not to stop wandering, to stop zigzagging or at least make a wrong turn to someplace beautiful.