Thursday, November 3, 2011

Playing around with a text cloud

I was playing around on the Internet the other day and discovered this way cool site ( where you can transform your writing into a text cloud. So I did a little experiment, using the beginning of a book I was working on, a few years ago.

The title of the book was The Other Side of the Needle and, unfortunately, I haven't gotten very far with it. But I thought I'd share a page or so of the story, plus the text cloud. One of the things I've learned, over the years, is that writing prompts and little things like this can actually recapture you're love of writing and make you fall in love with a "broken story" all over again. This particular was broken and I didn't spend the time trying to fix it. But now, as I look at the beginning again and listen to words of this character, I find that I'm still slightly enchanted by both her and her dilemma.

So, here's the text cloud, created on


And here's the snippet that I used to make the text cloud.

I stand in front of the mirror and look for the difference. I know it’s there somewhere, beneath the makeup, under the smile, buried somewhere below bone and flesh, a monster breeds. In silence I speak its name, but otherwise I try to pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t want It to know that I’ve found out.

A tumor. Growing. In my brain.

Wish this was happening to someone else. Wish I was someone else. Right now I’d switch places with my cat if that were an option.

It isn’t.

The sun shines outside the window, forcing cherry blossoms to glow with a supernatural light. I hate the implication that the rest of the universe is moving along in some ordered fashion. If I’m headed toward death, then shouldn’t everything else come to an end? Shouldn’t all the oxygen get sucked away by some environmental tragedy, shouldn’t the war that’s been hanging over our heads finally start?

Shouldn’t my husband end his affair, the one I’m not supposed to know about, and tell me how much he truly, madly, desperately needs me?

Apparently not. Apparently this tumor with my name on it doesn’t affect anyone but me. Well, me and my doctor, I guess. He stands to make a sizeable increase in salary over the next several months. I glance down at my arms, still bronzed by summer sun, wonder how pale I’ll be when all this is over. My gaze lingers too long on the ID bracelet that hangs loose on my wrist. Like I was going to get lost in this exclusive clinic that feels more like a spa. Like anybody was going to forget my name when I have it tatooed across my left forearm, tangled in a gothic swirl of red and black, as if I myself was going to forget who I was back when I was 19.

Kathryn. Delicate lines. Cursive script.


Will I write more about Kathryn and her mysterious illness? Maybe. I haven't decided yet.

How about you? What do you do with your broken stories and how do you fix them?


  1. Merrie, how very fun! And as a brain tumor survivor myself, you have the beginnings of a very compelling story. I want to read more, more, more!


  2. Nothing is ever truly broken so never throw it away - do what you did - put it away for a while then on some rainy day when you're pretending to clean up your files, re-read and rediscover. I keep a MORGUE much like an artist keeps for drawings and clippings that inspire. It's just a folder but inside are notes, story ideas, news clippings, pictures that I thought were interesting/inspirational and those works that got stuck and seem broken but might just be fixed some day. : )

  3. Auburn, Wow. I'm so glad you are okay! I have another friend who had a brain tumor too. Fortunately he's okay today. Thanks for liking the story beginning!

  4. Amy, I agree. I do want to write this story someday. My problem is I've started it about three different ways, with different characters. Ultimately it's a tale about an alternate universe that intersects with ours. And I hope you keep working on MORGUE! =)