Friday, April 5, 2013


The Art of Galumphing:


intransitive verb \gə-ˈləm(p)f\
: to move with a clumsy heavy tread

To unblock writer's block or to get the creative juices flowing on slow days, I was introduced to the art of galumphing. Which I've found is less of an art form and more of a trick. It is nothing but a lottery you play and hope to get lucky with the chits you pick. 

This is how it works: 
Make several dozen word chits. The words must be a mix of names, places, animals, things and actions. Scramble up the folded chits or close your eyes and pick a minimum of 3. The lesser chits you pick, the easier the trick works, I've found. If you want difficult, by all means pick 10 chits. Open the chits and there, you have your lucky draw. Then use the words you've picked and write a paragraph or two or three with them. 
It's really a neat trick to do. At worst, you'll end up giggling at the words you've chosen. (I once picked: fart, Venice and Internet.) At best, you'll have something worthwhile on your laptop.
Here's one of my galumphs:

Garbage Can, Car Salesman, Sandy Beach.

Mike Cohn, car salesman extraordinaire, was having a great day. He'd sold two cars today, leased another two and had the potential of two more sales going through tomorrow, and by God he would make sure they did. It was a day made for whistling, he thought, glorious, sunny, warm and fresh. All he needed to make this glorious day stupendous was his surfboard, some surf and the beach. 
He parked his midnight blue ’99 GT Convertible in his daily spot, smack dab in the middle of the parking lot that led to the white sandy beach, the pride and joy of his quiet, North California town. He stretched, popping the kinks and tedium of the day away and grabbed his checkered Billabong shorts. He striped of his suit and put on the shorts, keeping an eye out for peeping toms and prudes with screechy voices. He did not want to waste a single minute mollifying anyone or explaining why he was inflagrante delicto in a public place to the cops. 
There! All done. He grabbed his board and the empty coffee cup sitting on the roof and started jogging towards the beach. He detoured in the direction of the garbage can to toss the cup in, and he froze.
Holy shit! What in hell was that peeking out of the garbage can?

It took me about 10 minutes to do that. Not bad, eh? 
So, go on. Do your own Galumph and tell me you rocked.


  1. I learned about galumphing recently, in my creative writing class. What a neat technique. We had to pick random words out of three columns, one word per column.--> Here is what I did. :)

    4 = Umbrella
    1 = Traffic Cop
    0 = Museum

    She was late for her meeting rushing down the street. The rain was beating down on her umbrella, as she got ready to cross the street. Manhattan during rush hour, what a mess. And here she was cutting it as close as possible to get to her meeting. That was why she had jumped out of the cab near the Met, thinking she would be quicker on foot. What she hadn’t calculated was that she was wearing high heels.
    Lost in thought she started to cross the street and promptly bumped into the traffic cop who was directing traffic on 5th Avenue. He clearly was not impressed with her inattentiveness yelling at her profusely. Great, could this day get any worse?