Deranging and Making Strange: Acronyms

Exercises designed to derange, rearrange, make strange language in ways that delight, distract, and transform.

Exercise one, two, and three

One: Let IT Be

You wake up feeling regret for some unnameable thing. You feel overwhelmed and anxious about the state of the world. You need some distractions.

Step One || Find a phrase and turn it into an acronym

Take the phrase on your coffee mug, “Let it be” and write it in big letters at the top of a page in your journal. Stare at it. Wonder: What does it stand for? What is it that you are supposed to let be? Then turn it into the acronym IT.

Step Two || Make a list of new phrases

Spend 5 minutes writing down phrases that start with I and T. 

Step Three || Pick some phrases, turn them into a poem

Pick a handful of your favorite IT phrases and turn them into a poem that also functions as a prayer for surviving these terribly difficult times made even more difficult by the 2016 election. 

Step Four || Post it on your log

Post the experiment on your online running log.

Step Five || A few months later, revisit the poem

Return to the poem later and add some new IT phrases.

Log entries: March 1, 2018 and November 20, 2019


  • immobile theories
  • impending tests
  • intelligent trees
  • incanting toads
  • icky tacos
  • ink trails
  • indifferent trapezoids
  • imploding teens
  • itasca toadstools
  • indian takeout
  • irritating toys
  • ignorant televangelists
  • information taster
  • incandescent teaspoons
  • infinite trouble
  • icy terrain
  • indigo tears
  • itchy toes
  • infant teresa
  • inelegant toast
  • iced tea
  • idiotic tires
  • inescapable tornados
  • inside time
  • isosceles triangles
  • impossible tyrants
  • imps toil
  • important tissues
  • intrepid tests
  • ill teetotalers
  • immobile tractors
  • invading termites
Let IT Be

Let ink trails be a way in
to a world of intelligent trees 
who incubate theories 
in their subterranean information thoroughfare.

Let indifferent trapezoids be
a model for how to live–
never interested in even, parallel lines
never caring to reach infinitely towards the sky.

Let Indian takeout be
what saves us from eating
icky tacos again.

Let incanting toads be what finally
sings us to sleep
so we can dream better dreams
imagining terrains that believe in us.

Let invisible threads be revealed
so we may see how we belong
connected, tethered to each other–
vulnerable to violence yet
also to the inviting touch of another.

Let indefatigable toddlers be 
given inside time to quell their irritating tantrums.

Let indigo tunics be required attire
for ill-tempered teetotalers

Let insufferable Todd be
forced to drink iced tea 
while we imbibe tequila

Two: Free (IT) Band Name

You return from a run with a sore left hip/thigh/lower back. You look it up and conclude that the problem is probably your iliotibial or IT band. Do not panic.

Step One || Experiment with the phrase Free (IT) Band Name

Write the following at the top of a piece of paper: Free (IT) Band Name. Spend 5 minutes brainstorming band names that start with the letters I and T.

Step Two || Post on your log

Post list on running log entry: November 6, 2018

Bonus || Write a song set list

Write a set list of songs for one of the bands to perform, all including words starting with the letters I and T.

Free (IT) Band Name
  • the isosceles triangles
  • imperious tina and the intolerable treaties
  • insatiable teresa and the intimate tulips
  • the intrepid toddlers
  • the irritable tigers
  • intelligent tom and the incubating theories
  • the iambic torsos
  • the important tubas
  • the inelegant toadstools
  • the infringing tableaus

Three: Infamous Tattletales

You return from another run and feel that same soreness in your left hip/thigh/lower back. Time for more fun with medical terms!

Step One || Brainstorm

Spend 5 minutes brainstorming more phrases that start with the letters I and T.

Step Two || Post on log

Post them on your running log entry for the day: Dec 13, 2019

  • Impossible Tangrams
  • Interested Termites
  • Indistinguishable Twins
  • Indifferent Theses
  • Infamous Tattletales
  • Imprecise Tailors
  • Incanting Taylors
  • Impeded Traffic
  • Impeachable Tyrants
  • Icicle Tinsel
  • Invigorated Triathletes
  • Insatiable Tricksters
  • Ill-fitting T-shirts

Exercises four and five:

Four: Monster Roosters Incant

One of your biggest fears might be realized. Your therapist tells you if your knee doesn’t stop swelling soon, you will need an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagining).

Five: Rancid Icky Curdled Eggs

Your right knee is swollen and you must sit on the couch 3 times a day for 15 minutes with an ice pack tightly wrapped around your elevated knee. This treatment is called Rest Ice Compression Elevation (R.I.C.E.) and it is cold and boring and irritating.

Step One || Write the letters of the acronym on a sheet of paper

Write M R I or R I C E in big letters at the top of a page in your journal.

Step Two || Brainstorm

Spend 5 minutes brainstorming a list of phrases that begin with each of the letters.

Step Three || Pick some favorites

Pick a few of your favorites.

Step Four || Chant them

Repeat them out loud. Over and over again in a chant.

Bonus || Turn them in a spell of a poem

Turn them into a spell or a poem or a story to make you feel less freaked out or more powerful or better able to ward off the need for the scary medical acronym.

  • Magical Realism Included
  • Musty Rusty Incubators
  • Myopic readers irritate
  • Miniature Rhinos Incite
  • Monster Roosters Incant
  • Moody Radicals Impinge
  • Moldy Reed Infirmary
  • Musk Rat Infatuation
  • Massive Recalls Impending
  • Multiple Raisins Ingested
  • Mutant Rats Infiltrate
  • Rude Idiots Can’t Explain
  • Red Indigo Copper Ecru
  • Ribbon Ink Carbon Electromechanical
  • Rancid Icky Curdled Eggs
  • Rosie Is Currently Elated
  • Rapture Is Coming Early
  • Rats! I Can’t Enumerate
  • Random Isotopes Create Elements
  • Rhode Island Can’t Even.
  • Respect Is Carefully Earned
  • Rudeness Is Considered Evil