Monday, August 06, 2007

Dark and Stormy

The crater of the volcano glowed red against the black sky, looking as if God had taken a drag of His cigar - if He smoked - which of course, He didn't.

Wendy Spoelstra
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

This is the shortest entry to the 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Not bad, considering Bulusan Volcano is due to explode anytime. The winner by the way is also volcano-related.

Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.

This gem is from Jim Gleeson, a 47-year-old media technician from Madison, Wisconsin. BLFC celebrates bad writing. I have the book on the first winners, back in 1982. This means that this edition is the 25th. The website, reminded to us by Butch Perez, said:

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."

I am at an Internet shop in Manila, specifically near Bayview. I am early only because I want to make myself suffer watching the last inning of the Boston-Seattle baseball game which Seattle is losing. Most of the clients are preparing their resume for the US, which is just in front. They hope to make it to the US, knowing it is a dark and stormy chance.

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