A variation on the well known Exquisite Corpse exercise dreamed up by the Surrealists. Begin with the words “I went down the stairs and around.” Each contributor only sees the words written by their immediate neighbour. Each contribution is to
- finish the previous phrase
- begin a new phrase (not a clause)
- keep the sentence going (no periods)
Some were shaky on the phrase/clause distinction, so we didn’t quite get to the octopus (one clause from which innumerable phrases hang) of my dreams. But here’s one we wrote (apologies to my other section, that one got lost):
I went down the stairs and around the bend, then down the womping willow they scoured in their boots and in a moment that was tense, they almost were caught so they pretended to be in the circus with a group of cowboys and cowgirls that learned to lasso these silly bulls that stampeded from the mountain shaped like a monkey’s head which made many bystanders turn their heads and fall to the ground laughing so hard their stomach had an out of body experience while digesting the chili from the diner on the corner of Wall and Broadway, it steamed as though 3 men touched each others’ swords together in a loving embrace that ended in the joining of four souls which ultimately began edging towards the end of bombs and explosions.
Word. Or, phrase. (As in, that’s the unit we were on.)