Sunday, 27 February 2011

Constraining your writing: univocal

The Inky Fool back in January told us about 'Gadsby' - a 50,000-word manuscript which romps along without any 'e's at all.

So I thought I'd just touch occasionally in coming posts on fun trials to conduct with your writing.

First up is univocal - writing which shuns all but a particular non-consonant, using, say "a" or "i" to stand in by proxy for its additional four chums.

This is part of a work by C.C. Bombaugh in 1890, using only "o":

No cool monsoons blow soft on Oxford dons,
Orthodox, jog-trot, book-worm Solomons

OK?

I did try it, and this is my stab at it.

(Warning: It's a bit odd, a tad racy and not my usual sort of thing. You can rip it to bits in a bit, BUT I want you to try doing your own first! It's tricky!)

What a drag!

Adam's a bad lad
Fact: bad at maths and can’t stand class
Alas - what plans Adam has!
A zany ad-man? RADA (Batman)?
Rap! A slam champ? A bard?
Start a band - all mad fans and WAGs?

Adam’s dad rants: What plans?
Tarmac gang? Stack cans at Asda?
Adam: Stack cans? That’s banana’s!
Adam asks Dan. Dan’s smart.
Dan says: Always warm at army barracks.

Lads land at camp, what a sham!
All starch and march. Bad days.
Anyway, Adam has an asthma attack.
Back at last, angry, antsy, and has cash!
Blags a flash car, an Astra - fast.
Stamp that gas! Damn blast - a crash.
Arm: small gash, Astra: vast scratch.
Bank says: card back, thanks.
Ta'ra backpack – Agra, Java, all that.

And Dan’s back. Tall, fab tan,
all blah blah blah Baghdad at war:
ranks, tanks, Saddam, bang bang.
Asks Anna – rampant Chav slag –
Fancy a shag? Anna wants an army man.
Jammy bastard: Anna’s chancy, always randy.
Anna’s flat’s all dark and hazy –
mmm...shady lady... mmm hash,
mmm brandy and…mmm? Clannad?...
anyway, hand wanks, spanks, anal pranks,
Dan’s hands at bra and pants…
…Aaaargh! Anna’s a lad in drag!
Man’s drawl: Thanks pal!
Fag ash, tacky damp, bad tang.
Aghast. Dan’s ‘lad’ has pangs.

Always a catch.


© C Kirwan

p.s. If you think this post is in a slightly unusual syntax, it's what's missing that you may pick up on - the scarcity, the drought, the want of ... what? Go to my first words and think about it! The truth is hiding in plain sight!



11 comments:

  1. It wis whin yi sid 'non-consonant' thit I rilizid wit wiz ip.

    I din't think I'm pliying this right, im I?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dave - Most amusing. I did a LOL there! I knew I'd be rumbled at that point, but I really couldn't come up with another word for 'vowel'.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent,BB! Et clever. Me? Never keen ...
    oh damn, I give up. Although it would be a fun way to waste my afternoon, which should be spent working. Besides, if you can write 50,000 words without using 'e' then e must be the hardest to limit yourself to.
    And I don't get the little puzzle so I'll come back after everybody else has commented to see what I can't figure out now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! I am impressed! Got a real kick out of the last verse, too. How long did it take you to write this?

    And I accept your challenge to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Deb - You say you don't know the answer but you do - the answer is in your answer!

    PattyF - Why thank you! I wrote it a while ago After hearing someone read out one with just 'o's and just found it again recently. I suspect it took a long time! Do let me know how you get on with yours!

    Rainy - ta, lass!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Clare.. I think you are far too clever for me.. ! I'm going to test myself and see if I can actually come up with something!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, that is impressive -- too clever for me as well -- gonna pull out the pad and try to come up with something myself!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Me head is spinning.

    I thought it was more complicated than that. Never trust myself when I think the answer is too easy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow. That took some thought!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Clare - You mean I'm just a bigger time-waster! ;-)

    Brahm - Thanks for visiting! Actually I'm not as clever as I thought... I just spotting (whisper it) an 'i' in the last verse.. but I don't think anyone noticed... just as long as I don't mention it...doh!

    Deborah - although the answer was anything BUT eeeeeeeeeesy

    Ellie - Yes, but it's not curing cancer or feeding the starving millions is it?

    ReplyDelete