A LETTER THAT FINDS YOU WELL

An innocent conversation on handwriting idiosyncrasies led to each of us writing an example of our own personal styles. HC brought up differences between her quick note-taking styles, and her slower, more formal styles. To show an example, she asked one of us to tell her story, which she would try quickly to write down. We soon discovered that in the unequal speeds of our verbal storytelling and our writing, if the storyteller refused to slow down or repeat, many details would get lost, rewritten, compressed, and obscured, creating an entirely new chance story from the materials. Below are the results from the first round we played, using spontaneous stories of our own creation.

hello dear friend

I hope this letter finds you well. Unfortunately the hippo got out of its enclosure again. A am writing this sentence about a hippo. Hippos will always rule neptune. I like hippos. I have a hippo friend named Bob, he came out of my head and said his name was Alfred. He’s hairy.

There is a very large bird small feet flies berry drops berry. He die. Set off after many berry. Weaker weaker east sun end of time wait—seed feed on.

There, caterpillar with shoes could walk. But ugly foot didn’t need, so he hid and fell in love. Could marry, so he killed out his own foot. So he got struck in ground as butterfly. Why, tooth, thou leave me? Don’t worry, well, but a butterfly jerk who did a tiny. Wait caterpillar wait am I Frank? Always a magnet. Have a nice day.

Back in my day I had a real personal issue with pies. Uncle uncle bob he was not a hippo. Did not see mother, was not her. Was dog? Goose?

There was an eloquent horticulturist filled garden in smell nothing but babies until he lost vision. Killed garden, with dirt?

There was a dragon with the sun in its paw. Transformed into sun and had sex with Neptune. They had babies who named Outkast, he transformed into circus flea hatched in my ear canal. Left a map and the map was shit and a map of all shit that ever was and he put on the roof of Mount Everest. Dragon hatched, and said “what a trip”.

Back in 1800s—shortage of short geishas like frank. Two centimeters confusing bob with special hand lions, but Swedish clan of two feeted flying. Many characters named blank just a blank space write down pigeon babies, no soul. And they lived except geisha, five hundred feet Kyoto, whatever, the end.

Pling blee fly parmo, she has kittens. Jelly fish girdle, looking around. Why why not. Worth the sun the moon the great motorcycle that spins around the earth…Elon Musk the ghirafpa the circus at the end of the world. Clog black holes pillars, woe woe. Who roam across the sky, and never wonder why.

The stinky chicken is a friend with the blind cat. Your soul is a stinky noodle that grows old, and tries to go bold. Rotation splattered old. Soul like a crab like a snow. Still cats, under the stairs. Doll eyes caught by cats on a Tuesday. Raccoon visits in the underworld. Called Sally, who doesn’t know, who speaks in rhyme. But raccoon is confused by the jelly hive. Wonderful pudding shove, in the land of great vibrations of flying fish of catatonia, a state in Florida. Be careful of the sun burn, because the black wing crows consume your toes. O woe all woe except for woe or tiny Tim of Pluto with many men to rule. Don’t ream, have them, because we are not innocent. But if you see a little bee on tiny Tim’s tiny toe fish in clouds O me O my I don’t know how to die. Feet intense. Camping boy scouts trapped in cookies girl tigers. Best film; bruce lee—could be. Unintentional rhyme…

An appendix broke broken. To a person write in a long book only 5 pages too long. Read 8 words per page. A penance appendix because the hippos also was me. O me O my. Many magic too big. Too big to say, and a partridge in a drum boy’s skull. Drumsticks, Frank on focus. Happened to have paraplegic lepers, both amputated rotted off. Tiny tim oh god dear liver cannibal by god there are leper faun statistics 4 feet away! Actually, Big Bob ate own feet. Bob bob bob bob who inevitably falls in love with eiffel tower, who falls eats entirely of eiffel tower. 1836—a year that happened? A shame unborn into radiation of oops.

We decided to take the experiment in a new direction. We pulled a few Charles Dickens novels off the shelf, picked random pages, and began again.

Hush John Tackle! I am afraid. Hush Carrier. The stars were shining in the counting house. There were lamps. A wont of tackletons, dangerous. A step stuck shadow hearth—perfidious hair white and desolate..but the waste dim. Dear step, turn the face-love hands laughing unsuspiciously opening eyes and tender. Fell down upon a desk a house and parcels. Could she kiss there with a face that blushed a baby of knowledge? Wring its heart to breaking good nite for goodness sake. The horses head muffled the house old. And before the cart, tackle the mother by the fire in contemplation.

I entertain english hard sun shines idiosyncrasies fucking fornifications courts trembling and trampling air drought people expected multitudes only hand only stomach. Hand steven roses possessed with a peck of trouble…old steven in reference.

It was a wet night, and many groups of women passed with bear heads held close under their chins to keep Rain Rachel out. Glance at any group. I was shown she was not here no more to come, in a tone of Mr…But he had not gone three streets when he saw shawl figures keen shadows reflected wet without a figure, moving from lamp to lamp fading and telling him what was there, quicker softer very near to the figure. Rachel! He turned. A lamp oval dark and delicate. Gentle eyes set off by a shining black face in bloom. A women 30 years ah tis thou said a smile. Nothing seen but eyes and hood. Thou was behind me, Rachel. No, a little late, Steven seems to me. Rachel, no, Steven! He looked with a face in respectful conviction, right in all. Did lighting true and old, yet getting no Rachel. Thou art puzzled in how to get old without get alive. Old friends honest truth sin pity and walks…Hard indeed to be a doll.

FRANK’S BIG DAY OFF

Three act structure? We’ve all heard of it at some point in our lives, haven’t we. And we all hate the bastard too. But hey, why not try to gameify it? Why not try to “steal it for surrealism”? In the following game, each player was assigned one act to write, and the main character name “Frank”. Besides that, no other information was given. After writing our sections in silence, we glued our beast together. Here are the results.

Act 1: Just another Saturday

It was a Saturday, and the sun was glowing a deep bluish blue. Frank sped through the decrepit circus turn-style, spitting out a barrage of overspent poetic alliteration towards all the eyeless. It was his day off today, and this time, well, Frank was determined to make it count. As the cities one-and-only amateur veterinarian, his days off were always few and far between, and this ‘ol Frank, well, he was a real party boy. He glared with relief at a drifting pucker fish, regurgitated his triangular car keys, and then cried. Today he’d do it, yes, finally! And do it, my dear readers, he really really did.

Act 2: The Shit Hits the Fan

Frank walked down the dark street wondering what it all meant if it meant anything at all. But he wasn’t left to wonder long because his foot went suddenly through the pavement. The gaping opening swallowed first one leg and then the other, crumbling wider as Frank frantically clawed at the edges. But there was no help for it. The sinkhole which had just opened beneath him was growing exponentially and inexorably. When the surface finally ceased collapsing the sinkhole had become wide enough to swallow two whole cars, which had been parked on the street nearby during Frank’s unfortunate encounter with the void. Holding onto the edge of the hole with shaking fingers, Frank dared to peak downward. Below him was a massive spinning fan, which slowly ground the fallen cars down to fenders. The terrifying sight forced Frank to void his bowels onto the fan below, which sucked it propitiously into whatever hell lay beyond. Feeling lighter, Frank was able to pull himself over the edge and back to relative safety. He speed walked away from the existential pit and decided it would all make more sense after he had showered.

Act 3

With his memories becoming progressively sporadic, the last several events are presented more as isolated incidents than actual connected events. Frank is in the garage of his friend, Mister K. Mister K is hosting a sleaze-riddled gathering, with the room set with indiscernible noise and the smoking fumes of an unknown substance that reeks of cadavers. While there, Frank meets a woman who is insistent on the fact that she doesn’t actually exist. When Frank asks Mister K about it, K hands him a copy of the Kama Sutra with all the women cut out from the illustrations. This prompts a fight between the two. Mister K overpowers Frank and locks him in a dingy bathroom. Sometime later, Frank is stuck in an underground train station. He’s aware that an industrial apocalypse is about to happen. Despite this, the train never arrives. Frank wanders around the train station, asking intrusive personal questions to various panhandlers he finds around the station. Frank eventually emerges to find himself in the ruins of a fishing village. Seeing the wandering shadow of a schoolboy, Frank follows it. He’s eventually led to the crater that was left behind from a bomb site. Frank can only hear the boy’s laughter when he stands in the middle of the crater.

  • SC, HC, AK

SURREALIST DIAGRAM GAME

Rules: Take a scientific diagram. Number each term, and have each player fill out a random word for each number without seeing the diagram. Later, replace the original words on the diagram with the new ones. Perhaps chance can build us more accurate maps of reality…

As an optional final step, one may also ask the participants to write a “scholarly” explanation of the new and improved diagram(s)…

Played online with various participants…

Cubed Poetry

ML found a set of the game “Haikubes” at the bottom of a box of used books. Ignoring the directions accompanying it, we improvised a few variations of surrealist games with the cubes.

In the first round, we each created one section of a poem on our own, and then assembled the full poem together afterwards.

In the more energetic second round, we all worked on the same poem in real time, slapping down cubes as quickly and unconsciously as possible, competing with each other for speed.

In the third round, we split in pairs of two, and cube’ed with our partner.

After these poems were finished, we flipped the cubes over to take a peak at the poem’s unconscious. Many of these chance under-poems ended up being rather obscene…

  • with ML, SC, HC, D