Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse – 28 February 2009

Instructions: This game is based on Consequences. We played it two ways. Both variations generated gales of laughter.

First, each person wrote a line and folded the paper over to hide the words. They wrote the last word of the line to start the next line, and passed the paper. Once the papers had made a full circuit, we opened them and read them.

  1. I ask you, will you, honest? said Eleri to the fly on the wall who thought she couldn’t see her / feet because the ball was in the way. / Way, truth, life / life choices: when and why and how and shall we? / We don’t have the time but we do have an Art Centre, she said, reflecting on the past passions for cake and tea. / Tea. Hemlock tea was the beverage of her choice, during her short life.
  2. So how does one beginning frame our pictures? / Pictures? Sounds? Words? Feelings? Sensation / Sensation is a sort of mediation. / Mediation between the souls of trees and worms. / Worms are the interesting things we like to talk about, said the blackbirds to the sleepy sheep.
  3. Fortunately tuna in brine to start. / Start rallying or you will fall behind. / Behind the bicycle shed Sam stubbed his foot on a brick. / Brick. Every stone, pebble, rock or boulder. They all made up the great sacred burial mound of the last Great King, till there was not even a grain of same left in the rest of the land. / Land reform was a central issue in British politics and in colonial affairs globally until the Labour Conference in 1942 abandoned unilaterally a policy – passed every year since the foundation of party – to nationalise all estates and agricultural land in the common good with the advent of the first majority Labour government / accidentally ate themselves or to be more specific, the worm within the apple ate the apple…talking of apples….
  4. The dust is thickly laid, and tickles. / Tickles me timbers said the kat with white feet. / Feet toes tongues tickling, Tommy tantalisingly touched every tiny part of Tina’s body. / Body. Form. / Formula for vegan photographs is ½ packet of agar flake + equal measures of potassium cyanide and ammonium ferric citrate / burns the tongue of the unyielding child. / Child care, adult care, care of teenagers wears you out. / Out of time, almost. What is left to do? More than is done, but too much to fathom.
  5. At last, October had arrived, and the autumn winds tugged at her hair, throwing leaves spinning round her face and up into the cold sharp air. / Air ware on the way up the stare they, in a little, a Lidl donkey whose eyes sparkled like stars. / Stars on the street combing their hair. / Hair down to his shins, straggly. / Straggly weeds from shopping trolleys and the remnant of camel bags; reclaiming their space above ground. / Ground zero is where the meeting was scheduled to take place but the platform was more practical.
  6. Mrs. Ethel Berger looked at her soft watch. / Watch how the moon shines onto the fields of snow, glistening and highlighting every beautiful form. / Form an orderly queue, pur-lease. / Lease on the studio runs out in April, shall we renew it for six months? / Six months or a year later meet again in Prague. / Prague self-immolates in the spring. / Springtime shoots the heat with bright coldness. I can see now through the dreary cumulus. / Cumulus accumulating at six o’clock, said the ominous apparition standing at the gates of time.
  7. I have some copies in the shop. / Shop in considerable haste today. / Today there may be snow, if angels have dandruff. / Dandruff is a cheap way of collecting DNA evidence, said the psychic protector. / Protector. Yes, the mattress protector seemed to do its job. That night she slept well – better than ever, despite the unconventional use of two hundred dead and stuffed chickens. Suddenly / Suddenly as everything always is, we are surprised constantly by the boring cyclical mechanical wonder of the life machine of the sick lost dream and ….

Observations: People commented on the occasional synchronicity that emerged. As you might be able to tell, things went ever so slightly off the plan, as someone started two sheets (we had six people at this point), not everyone had a chance to write on all the sheets, and the sequences got mixed up a little. I left instructions completely open as to what kind of thing to write, so the results cover a wide range of writing types, again, there seems to have been a rebellious spirit or two in our midst – not a surprise and not necessarily a bad thing. I’m not sure if I would want to frame it more narrowly next time or not.

Then we chose sentences at random from a book, and identified the sentence pattern based on parts of speech (noun, verb, etc.). Each person wrote a single word or phrase to fit the appropriate part of the sentence pattern, folded it over so the next person couldn’t see it, and then passed the papers. We did this a couple of times.

Noun he verbs adverb in adjective place of people:

  1. The wine bottles he schlepped lovingly in discordant tropical islands of the urbane proletariat of Pilzer.
  2. The beasts he exhumed energetically in doglike dungeons of millenialists.
  3. Activities he whistled soulfully in sweet teapots of fishermen.
  4. Manatees he leapfrogged cantankerously in ephemeral salt cellars of Stalingrad of children.
  5. The conceited anthologists he sucked silently in homogenous ice-caps of giraffes.

The nouns verb, how could person verb place?

  1. The space shuttles dig, how could Uncle Bill fillet her insides?
  2. The drums jumped, how could Dirinie Ainsorth of the Far Heights Chirk touch under the bed?
  3. The bees pounce, how could Ceredigion County Council sniff the eponymous hunting lodge?
  4. The parrots play, how could the cellist swallow these deep, dark woodlands?
  5. The interstices hope, how could eccentric artists infiltrate Torre Melinos?

Observations: The artefacts produced by this variation were more consistent. Choosing random sentences worked very well to provide the model sentences. Next time I will record the original sentence.

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