My name is Katherine and I am a Scrabble addict. I’m nervous to be Zooming with you all but at least I’m here.
I grew up in a Scrabble-playing family. My father wasn’t as good as my mother so they fought. When she proved her word with the dictionary he claimed that the dictionary was wrong. Or that the word was not English.
When I had no friends to play with I’d get out the Scrabble board and make words. When I got a bingo I’d run into the kitchen to tell Mum, hey look! I used all seven of my letters. She would say, isn’t that wonderful. Then I’d go back out to the living room and select a bunch of great letters that fit onto my previous word, put them down and run into the kitchen again and say, look, I did it again. The second time she’d look quizzical, but she never called me on it.
When my first marriage broke up Scrabble was a factor. My husband did not like to lose. We had our biggest fight about whether you could pluralize the word rice. I was sure you could and he said you couldn’t. I had the s and it lead to a triple word score.
After the divorce my sister introduced me to a guy across the street. As a kid he had driven all over the prairies with his mother attending scrabble tournaments. When he pulled his board out of its own little hand-made quilted carry-bag, I knew I was dead. He beat me. No rematch.
The next man I married played Scrabble at first. Then he quit, claiming he never got good letters. My son was more of a chess type so he was out. It got down to where only my daughter would play with me. The games were grim and went on for hours.
But those days it was face to face. The downward spiral started when I got into playing online. On Facebook, on websites, with anyone, strangers, dozens at a time. There was never enough. No matter how many games I had going, the moment came when I’d played all my turns and had to sit there with nothing to do. This is in front of my computer where I used to actually write books.
I swore it wasn’t affecting my life. But it was an obsession. At night I was always running up to my “office”. First thing in the morning too. My husband had to stand at the foot of the stairs and shout for me. I’d hear his footsteps and close the screen so he couldn’t see what I was doing.
Before COVID-19 I tried to quit. I swore I would stay away from the computer, work in the garden and read books. Then came the virus. It threw me back more than ever to the tiles. I read about Scrabblers Anonymous online. Your stories have made me see there’s more to life than keeping my ratings up. But maybe if I stick with this program I can get back to writing one day. Thank you for listening. It means a lot to have your support.
Stay well and occupied in your time at home! And yes, I did manage to finish the new novel. More about that later. Let’s get through this first.