Sunday, March 27, 2011

#43 250 Different Words

#43 250 Different Words

Write a 250 word story in which you never use the same word twice. You may not use a variation of a word, for example "you'll" after you've already used "you". For this exercise, you should all come up with a hidden title. You may want to make the title first, or do it after you've already done a draft of the story. The difficulty of these instructions is the defining characteristic of this task. It will be nearly impossible to make a coherent story out of this, but it will also challenge you to use a method different from anything you've used before. Don't expect fluency. Assume words will come out two or three at a time. Try not to search for synonyms. Rearrange a whole sentence if necessary. When you make expression symbolically difficult this way, you are in effect teaching yourself your own language again.

Lightening. Thunder. Sudden temperature drop, making clothes inappropriate; T-shirts ridiculous, sweaters crucial, raincoats mandatory. Faces, hands, legs, mouths, eyes. Everything wet, nothing dry. Feelings: everywhere. High, low, left, right. Tangled, straightened, put through paces, run amok. His, hers, theirs, yours, nobody’s, everybody’s. Why? When? How? Doesn’t matter. None care, not now, then, here, there. Grass; slender, sharp, green, pungent. Ozone; present, inescapable, intoxicating. Shouting, yelling, laughing, singing, screaming. Goosebumps, sweat, seeing one’s breath, swirling into fresh icy air, creating clouds, saying we are present. Old memories, damp bunk beds at camp, quickly ended bonfires, hot summer afternoons, that time in Milwaukee, before the wedding ceremony, after our first night of honeymoon. All mixing, taking up space, demanding attention. Me. I. It happened. No forgetting. Remember. Fixate. Cement. Pin down. This, too. Future regrets loom, being practiced, rehearsed, everyday. What makes past events, once thought perfect, shine differently? Brighter? Dimmer? Sharper? Duller? Bitter? Sweet? An August storm contains one million meanings to those caught inside its deluge. Months long gone carry hurricane stories, tales, lies, truths, narratives, novels, fictions. Humans swimming laps through recollection tempests. Songs, phrases, conversations, words meant saying never spoken, forgivenesses, accusations, loving touches, disappearing without notice, arriving loudly, reading letters, composing reasons, eating cheesecake, dusting book spines, riding horses, picking fingernails, sipping tea, scratching behind Spot’s ear, seeing contentment, breaking bones, putting rings on fingers, signing papers, getting tattoos, piercings, having babies, killing, murdering, saving, hoarding. Living life becomes easier with each passing day.

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