A Deranged Experiment

I want to think about the topic of injuries in running. This is difficult for me because becoming so injured that I cannot run is a big fear of mine. I don’t want to think about it, let alone write about it. To make it a little more fun, I decided to make injury strange, to derange it. Maybe it will lose some of its power over me then? This deranged experiment is a strange hybrid of two items on the Please Add to the List list:

  • Systematically derange the language: write a work consisting only of prepositional phrases, or, add a gerund to every line of an already existing work (9).
  • Get a group or words, either randomly selected or thought up, then form these words (only) into a piece of writing—whatever the words allow. Let them demand their own form, or, use some words in a predetermined way. Design words (9).

I decided to take the first word of the medical term for runner’s knee, Patellofemoral (full name: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome), and rearrange the letters into a phrase. This was fun and difficult. As a kid I loved taking a big word and then making as many different words out of it as possible. At first I did this here too. After finding about 50 words I decided that that approach was too easy. Why not make it harder. Ha! So, I limited myself more: I had to create a phrase using all of the letters. It took around a dozen attempts. Here are few of the anagrams that I was able to create:


  1. For All Leap To Me Pain Syndrome
  2. Melt A Paler Foot Pain Syndrome
  3. Alter All of Poem Pain Syndrome
  4. Mortal Foe Lapel Pain Syndrome
  5. Ol’ Temporal Leaf Pain Syndrome
  6. O Moral Leap Felt! Pain Syndrome
  7. Tell of Moral Pea Pain Syndrome
  8. A Feral Poem Toll Pain Syndrome
  9. Trope of All Male Pain Syndrome

For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever had runner’s knee. I picked it because the word was so long and medical sounding. I thought it would be fun to derange.

Experiment Two

I was so inspired by the first experiment of making strange/deranged, that I did another one. I let my mind wander through rhyme, trying to get as far from the thought/worry that started my thinking: an aching hamstring. This experiment came to me suddenly, while walking my dog around the neighborhood. I recorded a few lines into my voice memo app and then typed them up, along with others, some that I remembered from the walk, others that I created sitting at the dining room table.

Aching Hamstring

a hamstring
a bee sting
a gold ring
a bell rung
a purple tongue
a choir sung
a bird that sings
a phone that rings
a sweater that clings
a streetcar that clangs
a wolf with big fangs
a hunger that pangs
a heart that aches
a glass that breaks
a baker who bakes
a chef who cooks
a watcher who looks
a shelf with no books
a shelf on the wall
that’s ready to fall
a great big red ball
an informal dance
a night of romance
a needed advance
to go anywhere near
the words that I fear
would be quite severe
that’s why I’m so stern
in my efforts to spurn
all that might turn
me back where I started
to before I departed
from my worries about an aching hamstring.