- Take five books off your bookshelf;
- Book #1 :First sentence: Best Friends, Martha Moody;
- Book #2: Last sentence on page 50: Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott;
- Book #3: Second sentence on page 100: Somehow Form A Family, Tony Earley;
- Book #4: Next to the last sentence on page 150: My Latest Grievance, Elinor Lipman;
- Book #5: Final sentence: Digging to America, Anne Tyler.
Put them all together, and here's what you get:
Really, all I wanted in a college was unrest and demonstrations. People hand me books and articles to read that they promise are fascinating, and I wake up holding the book with a jerk~like when you wake up from a little nap at the movies, thinking that you are falling out of an airplane. We are looking for ghosts together.
"Then why didn't she call me herself to tell me about her change of plans?" They looked up at her, and they started smiling, and they waited for her to join them.
It almost makes a crazy kind of sense, doesn't it?
In another wierd moment of synchronicity, just before I ran across this meme, I was reading Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, and she suggested a very similar exercise using sentences from your own writing. Here's her suggestion:
"Take one of your most boring pieces of writing, choose from it three or four consecutive sentences and write them at the top of a piece of blank paper. For about a third of a page, scramble them up as though you were moving blocks around. Don't try to make any sense of what you write down. Your mind will keep trying to construct something. Hold back that urge, relax, and mindlessly write down words. If you like, arbitrarily put in a few periods, a question mark, maybe an exclamation mark. Do all this without thinking, without trying to make any sense. Just have fun."
In doing this, Goldberg says we free our mind from the subject/verb/direct object structure, allowing us a "new engery" in which to view the world.
Anyone have the nerve to try this one?