Friday, September 23, 2005

Eerie Sentence Challenge 1 Begins

I was thinking I needed a creative challenge. I like it when an idea is thrown at me, and I have to write about it. That’s the way my writing life has been for so long that I’ve grown accustomed to it. I feel kind of lonely without it. So I figured out a way to construct a reasonable facsimile.

I would set up a sentence challenge. I would choose a novel— not a writing book or a book about thinking—and find a sentence. I’d take that sentence out of context and see what I could make of it.

In seconds, I was out of my chair and at the bookshelf looking for a likely suspect. I grabbed “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon. I figured that would offer a sentence of the right degree. I opened the book randomly, and the following amazing sentence was staring up at me.

I can’t write the sentence.

I can’t write the sentence, because . . . when I turned over the book to make sure I got the title right, I lost my place and lost the sentence. It doesn’t say much for my memory. I need to start getting more sleep.

So I had to go fishing in the book to find a new sentence. But the book was so good I started reading. . . . I have an addiction to reading, especially reading books that are fresh and filled with curious and interesting things.

Finally, I took hold of myself. With a deep breath and with all of my faculties screaming the word STOP. I closed the book. Then I randomly opened book again. I chose the first sentence at the top of a left hand-page. If you have the book, you can check it. It’s the first sentence of Chapter 179.

I hated this “do over,” but I had no option. I took a moment and gave myself a dispensation. The following sentence was what I found.

I stayed awake until 3:47.

Now that’s eerie. You see I had also just been planning a nap around 4:00. It began to feel a lot like an omen. The time was 3:21, by the time I posted this it would be 3:37.

I’d better go for now. . . then the challenge will begin.

—me strauss Letting me be


zilla said...

Of course you've heard of bibliomancy, Liz. Very interesting, what's going on with you today. Hmmm...

Why not mix it up a bit and ask your faithful readers to provide you with a sentence from one of their books?

Or maybe we could do that thing -- what's it called, darn it? -- that thing where a bunch of people collaborate on a story, one sentence at a time? That might be fun.

Okay. Pushy woman that I am, I've grabbed a random sentence for you from a novel I loved. If you don't want to run with it, at least see if you can identify the author. Double-deluxe bonus points if you can guess the novel, too. Here goes:

Soap, too, had built its own head of steam, and candles profited from the memory of recent desperation.

Nothing obtuse about that. Trust me; it could have been worse.

Happy weekend, Liz!

ME Strauss said...

I should have known you would take up the challenge for me. Now there' a challenge that could just over take me!

I'd be happy to do the one-sentence story. Where I come from we did it two words at a time. But I've seen such things fail miserably on blogs around here, so we'd have to make sure everyone really wanted to do it.


Kelley Bell said...

Why not take a sentence from Atlanta Nights?


P.S. I glad you liked the "Saving lives with poetry" entry over in my neck of cyberspace.

That exchange was special. At least, I think so...and I am ever so pleased that you see the beauty of it too.

Kel Bell

ME Strauss said...

Hi Kel,

I guess I have my work cut out for me. I'm going with the sentence I've got. Now I've got two more to do.

You guys are merciless. I think I need to hide for a day or two.

Yeah. I like that poet post a great deal. She's a special one.


Cheryl said...

Haha Touche.
Have you not read the book?
I found myself upset that the undercurrent had no twists - once I started reading the unwritten story I wanted more to happen for the parents. I don't think the excellent autistic perspective of the words on the page forgive the predictability of the rest.
But I waffle.

ME Strauss said...

Oh yes, Cheryl,
I did read the book. My friend from the UK--the Conversations and Cognac guy--sent it to me because it made him think of me.

I loved it, but I too wished the parents had more happen to them.

I told my fiend that I never had a problem with my food touching, but I was considering numbering the chapters in my novel with only prime numbers. (grin>