I love word combinations. One of the great things about combinations is that they reveal the near-infinite complexity, the wide range of nuances, hiding within the individual words. Take blindly. It most often has a figurative sense of doing things mindlessly, without thinking, understanding or judgment. You might follow others or fall for a person blindly, etc. But it also has a direct, literal sense of not physically seeing things around you. To help pull out those subtleties I sometimes randomly generate pairings, in this case verbs with the adverb blindly.
One verb that came up was creep and it birthed this fragment:
“We creep blindly through the engulfing darkness of the tunnel, not daring even a whisper, communicating only with subtle shifts in the pressure of fingers encircling the ankle of the one in front, slight angling of that bony joint in response. The heat is punishing, pressing on us, seeming to constrict our narrow passage even more. The sweat has long since drenched our clothing, making it adhere to the clay as we inch along crablike. How long have we been moving? I realize I have no idea. The unrelenting darkness has shut down not just vision but also the connections to most other gauges of experience. The only heightened sense is hearing as we listen for the slightest of shufflings from behind that would signal pursuit. How long until we reach the end, hopefully undiscovered so that we may rise and sprint to speed our escape? …”
I don’t know yet who might be pursuing them, where they might be headed or if they escape, but the combination “creep blindly” set a whole train of thought in motion, different than other random combinations that came up, such as inject blindly, stab blindly, rule blindly, prepare blindly, honor blindly and so on.
I’ll say more about the program I use in a different post, but this one is already getting too long.
Copyright © Thomas Ward 2017