Feb 14, 2007

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Years ago, I started my law school application essay with these immortal words.

It led me to wonder where I heard them from. After a Google search, I discovered the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The goal of the contest is for entrants to construct horrible opening sentences to hypothetical novels. Using run-ons, bad puns, alliteration, strained analogies, hyperbolic hyperbole and other tools of poor writing, each year's contest seeks to find a rival to the opening line of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's book, Paul Clifford (1830), which started with "It was a dark and stormy night..."

I was delighted to find this website. I thereafter toiled for months crafting my masterful failures of sentences for submission. Elana liked what I sent in, but I did not even get honorable mentions.

Now that I have a blog, I have decided to subject my faithful readers to the tortured imagery and grammar of my phraseology and verbiage.

Entry #1
Wearing traditional Scottish plaid, followed by the pretty redhead from the secretary pool, and armed with a rubber duck, the blueprints to the Empire State Building, a bar of soap made quickly whittled to look like a revolver and pack of Ever-longlasting Minty-Fresh chewing gum, Kenny the Gopher, with all the intensity of a Sheriff from a 1950's spaghetti western who is trying to save some innocent, god-fearing, orphaned daughters from being taken advantage of by cattle rustlers whose sexual impulses rival those of a creature from the 5th ring of Dantes' Inferno, ran from the mailroom and burst into the conference room where the Board of Directors was about to sign a merger of the Rubber Duck and Chicken Company with the evil multinational megacorporation and said, "Awright, you varmints, take your hands off those chicks and reach for the sky if you know what's good for you, or I'll place some pebbles of lead next to your hearts of stone!"

Entry #2
Her smile might freeze a deer in its tracks as if it were in headlights... except she was not a 'she' but a 'he', or rather a rather ambiguous 'it' who had wandered through life with an identity crisis not unlike the Norwegian volunteer's drunken stupor induced by seven-shekel vodka on a kibbutz three kilometers from the ancient site of Armageddon where judgment day was predicted by the the Book of Revelation.

Entry #3 (Note the use of legal jargon that I was learning as a new law student.)
"...Even assuming, arguendo, that Kofi Annan does in fact mean Cloud Monkey in modern Hebrew..." continued the corpulent curbside commentator evidencing typical illusions of grandeur and extraordinary cognitive dissonance while intruding, inter alia, in the investigation of the stolen spinner-style hubcaps and, more importantly, my second round of late morning breakfast of Corn pops and certified organic grape juice with protein supplement, causing me to misspell the word "miscreant" in my New York Times crossword puzzle which I always do in black, or sometimes blue, ink- with the exception of Sundays when it is too hard for me...'Cloud Monkey'!?!?

Entry #5
"Hottentottententententoonstelling, unlike supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, means something that resonates with the collective weltanschuuang of the Dutch who, in a brazen expression of contradiction to the American-centric zeitgeist that has captured western civilization in this post-modernistic era which could also be boiled down to: it's in Dutch, not English." mumbled Fred as beads of sweat rolled down his forehead, pooling in the deep acne scars on his face while he held us all hostage with his 2-foot, rock-solid aged bratwurst hovering over our heads.

Entry #6
'Klickety-klak' went the keys of the laptops of over ninety students as the professor whined on about the banal nature of the repressive use of thought bubbles in 1970's exploitation comic books while stopping now and again to notice the rain-like effect of the sound- or was that 'clickety-clack'?

Entry #7
There once was a flea that lived with his mom who lived on a dog that was in a litter that was living in a room that belonged to a boy who lived with his aunt who lived in a shoe that was near a little swamp that sat in a field that was in a town that was found in a county that was smack-dab in the middle of a state that was on the end of a land that was on the edge of a sea that bordered on an ocean that covered a planet that was in a solar system that was on the edge of a galaxy that was in the middle of a universe- but this is a story about tick that lived on the cat that lived with the girl who lived in a shack that was down the road from a village in a different nation that was on a river that was near a mountain that was in a different continent that was near another ocean that was on a different star in a far off region that was not in the same galaxy as the flea with his mom with the dog with the boy with his aunt in that smelly, tacky, beat-up ol' shoe.

Don't worry, I'm not quitting my day job. Should I be glad that I lost a contest for bad writers?