The Word Factory

Once upon a time, in a deep, dark hardwood forest, far from any city, town or homestead, a word factory suddenly exploded into full-production.

With a clunk, and a hiss of steam from the engines of invention, cogs, levers, pulleys and rattling conveyors poured out a line of beautiful, freshly-honed words that absolutely covered the ground and filled the air.

Sheer chaos and order appeared. There were vocables escaping into the forest, rhymes dancing in the air, alliterations chasing each other through the clearing, neologisms running back up the conveyors, repurposed kennings doing high-fives on the sidelines and a whole pack of parallel structures forming a chorus line around the warehouse. In the middle of all this chaos was the master word-chef running around snatching up words and stuffing them into his lovelies — his proverbs and anti-proverbs, fables and antifables, a few dislocated-soliloquies, some expositions and bunch of hyperattentive narrativities.

Like bright candies spilled on a kitchen table to decorate gingerbread houses, the forest plant churned out its colorful linguistic astonishments. With sophisticated electronics and complex robotics, the master thrashed about in the middle of the words, running and laughing and crying and gesticulating manically. He was here and there and everywhere. He tested and retested his lovelies , arranged and rearranged them, unpacked and repacked them and frosted and candied and glazed them until they were near perfect — lightening, bon mot, dessert, the cats meow and the flicking tail too. Then with a flourish of mind, all his rhetoricals were packed, boxed, labeled and stacked in neat piles in the factory warehouse.

No one came to shop, but the factory just kept pumping out product, crazy with energy, like the broom in the sorcerers apprentice.

Then finally, one day a friend of the master word chef came to visit. Toured by the chef, she looked over the clattering conveyors. She snatched at a few of the words flying around her head. She peered in the door of the warehouse at all the high stacks. A nearby pallet of words shifted and seemed to move toward her.

“I don’t get it,” she said, stepping backwards — from what felt like a hot oven — into the open space of the yard. Even there, however, the words, phrase and sentences swarmed around her and she seemed a bit confused.

“Are you marketing these?” she asked.

“I make them for myself,” the word-man responded, “and a few friends.”

“Well, feel free to take a break,” she replied swatting at a metaphor, “especially if you notice that there are some other things you need to be doing.”

“I can’t,” he replied, and then glancing over his shoulder and seeing the newly coined words beginning to pile up at the end of a conveyor line, he rushed off laughing and gesticulating wild-a-phonically.

The friend went home, through the forest, ringing with odd vocables. She was as traumatized as Gretel, pursued as she was, for some distance by a personally relevant and particularly persistent axiomatic phrase.

“That was disconcerting,” she said to herself quietly upon arriving home and locking the door.

The word-maker looked up from his conveyors for a moment, a syllable in one hand and a word in the other, smiled softly to himself, and slamming them together said, “Va-va-voom suave-a-ka-boom!”


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