n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Saturday, October 21, 2006

damaged darling

jellyfish withing the tidelinefor my short prose class, we had an interesting assignment aimed at getting us to re-see our pieces. basically, each of us took a piece that for some reason or another we had abandoned as a project (just about everything i ever wrote would qualify), but that was still somehow precious to us. the other stipulation was that it had to be a piece we were not so attached to that we couldn't give it over. because once we found these "damaged darlings," we had to trade them with another person in class, randomly chosen.

when you had someone else's piece, the goal became to "finish" it, but this meant a number of different possibilities: continuing at the original's ending; condensing and rearranging; or using the piece as a launch-point for a related, but new piece. I decided to use the damaged darling I was working with—the original written by mp—as a launch point, although I kept all the same characters and most of the basic conditions of the original. I changed the setting and time-span, and since the original was about 12 pages, I also set the condition on myself of creating a "completed" short short (no more than 1/3 the size of the original).

a good project - to see how the different pairings in the class did or did not work out. mp chose to add onto my damaged darling and also condense a fair amount of what I handed over - interesting to see, and helpful to see what she would condense and why. other people found that their prose styles were so different, it was hard to access each other's stories, but when it did work, I would hazard a guess that the new writer chose to take full ownership of the text/idea and really change its form to meet their own vision of language. it's an odd practice... taking someone else's piece. the exercise ended up raising some of the following questions for me: is the new piece, which I wrote from scratch using mp's piece almost like backstory, my work? does it belong to anyone really? can I use her title, which we both really liked, but I think she wants to use in a piece "of her own"?

anyhow, a little nerve-wracking, but just an exercise and here it is, including mp's original title: [removed, because I'm taking off old drafts for the re-work. sorry.]
Hey, you probably know this, but Swink magazine (if they are still in existence) has a whole submission section for these team-written darlings.


love, Anne-girl
mmmmmmm, my Anne-girl.

yes, I think that's where our teacher got the idea... she photocopied one example from Swink, but I haven't yet read it... bad me. I'll have to read it soon.

did you get your card? if yes... then call me. if no... then call me.

love ya
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