Universal Deck

a personal universal deck creator

A Personal Univeral Deck is a brainstorming tool, an inspiration machine, a divinator, or a game deck.

Universal Deck's built-in oracle at work.

A deck contains 50 cards, each with two words (so: 100 words created by you). The words are divided between the senses, movement, objects, and abstract concepts.

The idea / writing exercise / divination tool originated with the American poet and playwright Michael McClure, who called them 'word sculptures'. Here's a one hour 1976 lecture to his students on the exercise. Paul Nelson has a shortened write-up of the exercise as well as a photocopied book of McClure's speech, and this site has an example of how the exercise might be used for teaching.

I have loved my deck (the idea was introduced to me by my friend Lucie Bonvalet), and became inspired to make this software to help others make theirs*. Here's more about me.

This site is a free tool for creating your own Personal Universal Deck, which allows you to:

  • 'Throw' a divination
  • Keep an annotated record of your divinations
  • Re-organize or edit your deck
  • Print your deck

* Note: Making a deck by hand can be a tactile experience; not being in front of a computer is a worthwhile consideration. Still, I like building tools, and think this is a fine alternative.