Composing palindromes is hard.
Palindromes have fascinated me for years. My college roommate brought one back to the dorm and sparked my interest. “Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.” I couldn’t resist. I had to try to write my own palindrome!
All I got for my efforts was a headache and a sense of despair. I thought I was smart, but apparently palindromes were smarter. Even when I felt the strange, palindromic attraction a few years later, my best idea for a solution was a list of words printed out backwards. Not exactly brilliant, and far from practical at the time, when computers were called mainframes and used only for Important Work.
Nonetheless, my desire to create palindromes never really vanished. It just moved aside for career, family, and life. From time to time the urge to palindrome resurfaced. I’d make limited efforts, sometimes forming lame, two-word palindromes, like stop pots. What could that possibly mean? Animated pots dancing on the stove? Was life a Disney cartoon? No, it wasn’t and I had to leave silly word games behind and get back to work.
Palindrome Seeking Software
Fast-forward to early 2019. Palindrome snuck back into my mind. I had formed the notion that if I could just get a computer-accessible word list, maybe I could figure out palindromes. I did a search, not really expecting anything useful. What I saw in the results made me sit up and pay attention. A few minutes later, I downloaded the list I had dreamed of for decades. An hour later I had a rough outline of the program I wanted to write. A week later I knew that the crude algorithm I had created could be much more. The tools I imagined were not only feasible, but super promising.
That’s when I started the project officially. I was commited to the work. The dream was to forge a set of computer-assisted tools that would allow anyone to compose palindromes. No big brain or peculiar genius required. All a person would need is an interest in word play, and a bit of creativity.
I didn’t know for sure it would work. I just had a hunch. So I threw myself into the effort. I was coding like crazy. It took many tries and multiple rewrites. I tossed out most of the code and started over. After several failures, I got a design that seemed right. It had what seemed like the best features to solve the toughest problem with palindromes: finding another word to expand the nascent palindrome.
More than a year later, the result is a website, palindromedary.us. The site is a collection of tools for composing palindromes. Now anyone can write original palindromes. The first tool is a reference book, Franklin’s Palindromedary. Second is the Palindrome Composer. Members have access to the tools, and the right to submit their shiny new palindromes for publication. Those I accept could wind up in the first anthology of original palindromes. If that book sells well enough, I’ll share proceeds with the authors.
And there you have it, the first and only computerized tool set enabling human palindromic achievement. Membership is free during the pandemic. Release your creativity.
Composing palindromes is fun. Visit Franklin’s Palindromedary today.
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