Thursday, September 21, 2006


I found these strange instructions on a website and thought I’d follow them. But who knows why?

1. Take first five novels from your bookshelf.
2. Book 1 — first sentence
3. Book 2 — last sentence on page 50
4. Book 3 — second sentence on page 100
5. Book 4 — next to the last sentence on page 150
6. Book 5 — final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to “cheat” to make it a better paragraph.
9. Name your sources.
10.Post to your blog.

Here’s my paragraph made from the five required sentences (I didn't 'cheat', as will be obvious):

The weather person shapes a bulletin around this week in nineteen fifty-one; then depth of snow off-piste in Val d’Isère, the unusually heavy rain for the time of year in northern Mexico. The cows were patient, immune to the calls for quick revenge, until the boy lies deep beneath the toppled haystack, smothering. The wife has gone home, mad, with the baby on one arm. The last far thunder-sack ripped and spilled its grumble. See the face of a man with a muddy tongue.

And here are the sources:

Ros Barber – How Things are on Thursday (Anvil 2004)
Julie Carter – Pseudophakia (Lulu 2006)
Philip Levine – New Selected Poems (A. Knopf, 1991)
Edwin Morgan – New Selected Poems (Carcanet 2000)
Rik Roots – The Rik Verse (Lulu 2006)

I suppose the paragraph could just about make sense, given a context.


Julie Carter said...

You know what's sad? I read sentence two and thought, "Hey, that sounds really familiar. I wonder if he'll say what book he's using."

And no, I wasn't joking, not even in my head.

Unknown said...

Ooh - gonna try that. Can you tell I'm mitching from revision? Thanks for the idea... scuttles off to find some books...

Rob said...

Heh. Julie, I wouldn't call it sad. The real danger is that you see one of your own lines somewhere, don't recognise it, and then think, "What a load of rubbish!" And then you see the acknowledgement...

Cailleach - these memes are the kind of thing you do when you're either too tired to do anything else, or when you've lots to do and would rather do anything else. But they are oddly fascinating.